wrap review – babymoov

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to try out a few different wraps/baby carriers – two I bought and two I was lent by my lovely sister who also wore her son for a bit. Now I actually have the baby to put in them I can give a few thoughts on them.

Babymoov Wrap

Ooh stylish.

Ooh stylish.

I bought my first wrap before Donny was born from eBay, for just under £20. It was second hand, but the seller had clearly opened the bag and put it all back in again without using it. On Amazon the same wrap seems to go for just under £40 but you could possibly find one cheaper elsewhere.

It’s 5m long and about half a meter wide in the middle (widest point), made of a very soft jersey-type fabric with a bit of stretch in it, and looks lovely. It comes with a matching carry bag and little baby hat for delicious co-ordination. It’s usable from birth to 18kgs/35lbs, so in theory you could still use this for a toddler, and made of 100% cotton. It comes with clear instructions on how to do a very different carries – front, cradle, hip, back, etc. I’ve only used the inward-facing front carry so far since Donny is still small but once he’s bigger I’m sure I’ll try the back and hip carries at least.

It’s super simple to tie – it seems a bit confusing at first but it really is so easy. The stripey design on one side means you can easily see if you’ve got the fabric twisted – the inside is also a different texture so again you can see. The instructions are slightly different to those on the Calin Bleu booklet but I actually prefer this method for a front carry since it feels more secure and it’s very easy to take the baby in and out. You tie the wrap around you before putting the baby in, so there’s no nonsense with trying to balance the baby on you while wrapping cloth around him, so it’s perfectly possible for me to get him in and out by myself. That’s a big bonus since it makes it very easy to carry him around the house when I’m on my own or to quickly get ourselves ready to go out.

I was surprised how secure it felt the first time I wore it. The baby’s legs can be tucked in when they’re little since newborns so love doing that curled up little hedgehog  position and they’ll stay put on your chest. I used it the first time the day after Don was born to go visit the paediatrician, and the crazy doctor was very excited to see me ‘doing the kangaroo’, which was cute.

I really love the way this kind of feels like you’re wearing a comfy t-shirt. In the hot weather it was a little bit much since it’s quite thick fabric and will wrap over your baby in several layers, but on cooler days it’s perfect because it keeps me warm as well. The stretch in the fabric does mean you have to tie it quite tight, probably tighter than you expect, but if you give it a few goes you get the hang of it really quickly. Don is always perfectly fine being hauled in and out – I put him in to go downstairs to the car, take him out to put him in his carseat, then in again when we get where we’re going, then out again if he needs feeding while we’re out. He tends to fall asleep as soon as his head gets on my chest and not wake up until he’s hungry.

Although I have seen jersey wraps for cheaper than this, I’m glad I went with this one because of the fabric quality and the design. The price listed on the Babymoov website is 60-70 €, which is about £48-55. I probably wouldn’t have paid that much, personally, but if you can find it for £25-35 that seems like a good deal to me.

postnatal thoughts

There’s quite a few things that either came as a shock realisation after Donny was born, or that I wished people had explained better (or I had taken the time to better prepare for). Everyone tells you odd things like ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ (the least helpful piece of advice ever, though I understand the spirit in which it is meant) and ‘don’t strain yourself’ but there’s a lack of practical advice on how to actually achieve this. Obviously every person, relationship and baby is different, so some of these things won’t apply to everybody, but here is what I personally wish someone had told me (and my partner) before we came home.

Talk To Your Partner About Your After-birth Expectations, and Be Rude And Kick People Out If You Have To

People kept telling me to limit visitors but it turns out this is really hard, especially if, like me, you have a bizarre need to please EVERYBODY. On the whole my birth experience was great, but if I could turn back time, I wish I had been more insistent on not having any visitors. I should have made it clearer to Jaime that I would be more comfortable being left alone for at least the first day and preferably much longer.

I’ll admit I’m naturally not a hugely sociable person. I like being on my own. I am happy to have visitors on MY terms, which means I like to know who is coming and when. Turns out, giving birth didn’t change this at all, but it made it worse (for me) when I didn’t get what I wanted. I definitely felt that Jaime was trying to do too much too soon, and was feeling guilty for not involving people, and I really really should have gone through with him BEFORE the birth what our expectations were. I got him to read books and things and we did talk about a birth plan, but we seemed to miss out on what we thought would be happening immediately after Donny was born.

None of my family live close to me, so I hadn’t expected any visitors and was actually pretty happy that it would be this way. Somehow, our housemate ended up turning up a few hours after the birth and staying with us at the hospital until we went home. While she is lovely and we get on really well, at this stage I was hobbling around, bleeding a LOT and trying to get the hang of breastfeeding, and also extremely, extremely tired. Then, Jaime’s boss – who I know, but am not great friends with – was the next person to show up, just before we went home, and sit with us in the hospital room. She had texted (not me, as we’re not even friendly enough to have exchanged numbers) and asked if she could come, and Jaime had just said yes without asking me. I also don’t remember being asked if it was OK if our housemate came. At the time I tried not to mind, but actually, I did, and I should have kicked up more of a fuss and got Jaime to ask them to go. It made me feel very pressured – we were waiting on Donny’s first poo and also the midwives wanted to see him feed etc. Having our housemate there made this feel harder and less relaxed. She also kept saying that she was tired and hungry and wanted to go home, which made me feel pretty shitty since I had been awake for going on two days solid and really just wanted to chill out and not have to worry. I also felt like I actually didn’t want anyone else to hold my baby, really, but they wanted to have a go and I felt I had to hand him over.

So, my advice would definitely be to set out your expectations with your partner (or whoever will be with you) before the birth and ensure they are ready and willing to kick people out if necessary. It will be easier to do this before than after if you’re anything like me, since afterwards I was hormonal and feeling vulnerable and totally unable to stick up for myself.

Even If Your Birth is Easy, You Still Need Time To Recuperate

I was lucky enough to have a straightforward birth with no complications and I felt frickin AWESOME afterwards. But, in retrospect, I NEEDED time to myself and with my new little family to recover. It kind of felt like my entire midsection had no muscles left at all for a while – even just walking upright was tough on some days – and yet many of the people I was around for the first few days seemed to not recognise this and kept telling me I should get out of the house. Again, it’s partly my fault for not  being more insistent that I absolutely didn’t need to get out of the house and was quite happy slouching around in my PJs between the sofa and the bed. I ended up allowing myself to be dragged out in the first week and did NOT feel any better for it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Lock yourself in your room if you have to.

I feel this is something else that could have been made easier by having a frank discussion with Jaime BEFORE the birth. I tried to explain my feelings after I had ended up crying in the bathroom in the first couple of days, but was way too hormonal to make much sense and was also much more upset about it all than I should have been. Among Jaime’s many lovely qualities is a need to make other people happy and help them as much as possible, and I really had to hammer it home that these two weeks were NOT for doing that, they were for us, and in the politest possible way, other people could go fuck themselves if they couldn’t see why I might want to stay home for a bit.

Be A Bitch

I snapped a little bit after my housemate told me we were ‘causing shit for ourselves’ by allowing our FOUR DAY OLD baby to sleep on our chests rather than in his crib (he did not settle at all when we tried). I wasn’t rude, although I feel I had every right to be, but I just pointed out that he was only FOUR DAYS OLD, with a smile on my face. She didn’t take it well, but I actually found that I didn’t care. She got over it. Forget other people, just for a little while. Be selfish. Do whatever you want, whatever works for you, whatever makes you and your baby (and your partner, if applicable) happy. It’s easier said than done, but it’s so, so liberating once you realise you have more important things to worry about than butthurt acquaintances. Anyone worth knowing will be more than understanding.

Maternal Instinct Is Real And A Bit Scary

I have never felt more protective/paranoid over anything else than I do about my baby. I am generally very laid-back, and although I can be a bit of a worrier, I never saw myself worrying as much as I do. I still find it pretty difficult to relax if I cannot see Donny at all times. People kept offering to take him for a little bit so I could have a nap, and I think I offended one or two by refusing. It was nothing to do with them, it was just that I could not sleep if I didn’t know exactly where he was and could make sure he was still happy (and breathing). It’s kind of hard to deal with at first since it can make you feel crazy, but it is NORMAL. Maybe some people feel it less or more, but it does not make you insane or paranoid or whatever else. It makes you a parent. You worked hard for this little person, it’s kind of understandable you’re going to want to make sure they’re always as happy as they can possibly be.

Get A Night Light

The first couple nights were the most difficult as we hadn’t reaaaally prepared yet. We realised really quickly that we needed a dim light to have on all the time because getting up and down to turn lights on was ridiculous, and our bedside lights were much too bright. We bought two LED night lights from Argos for £6.99, and they are great. They come on automatically in the dark, and turn off when it’s light, and give a nice soft white light, plus they are LEDs so cheap to run. They’re bright enough to change a nappy by, and we hang a muslin over them once Donny’s gone down to sleep so it’s a little darker in the room and easier for us to catch a nap too. These are definitely one of my best buys so far – which is weird because I didn’t see these on any ‘baby essentials’ list. I’d definitely say they’ve been an essential for us.

Get Something Comfy For YOU To Sleep On

It’s amazing how quickly you notice that your mattress was made in hell by pointy spring demons when you’re awake most of the night. I bought a memory foam mattress topper from Amazon for about £30, since we couldn’t afford a whole new mattress, and it could not have arrived soon enough.

Make Sure You Always Have Food

Babies make you HUNGRY. I am breastfeeding so that probably makes me slightly hungrier, but I imagine even with a bottle fed baby, it’s hungry work. I have spent some nights almost fully awake and so have needed way more food than normal. I order a lot from Approved Food because they have great offers and bulk priced snack type food, and often good prices on other stuff like juice, pasta, sauces, canned food, etc. It’s often close to or actually expired, but this has never mattered to me, and you can save crazy amounts on the retail prices of stuff.

Portable Cots Are Awesome

Donny sleeps in a small crib with a removable side, which we have attached to our bed. This works great but once it was attached it meant we couldn’t move it into the living room for him to nap in here, in constant view. Instead, I bought a pop up travel cot like this from eBay so that he can sleep where I can see him all the time. He will sleep in his bouncy chair, but as he is so tiny he tends to slump right down in it so I prefer not to leave him there for too long – the pop up cot means he is right next to me while I do whatever.

Donovan Vincent’s Magical Mystery Tour

Surprise! Because he is super awesome, Donovan Vincent decided to make an early appearance on the 15th of May – 12 days early. And here is as much of the story as I can remember 🙂 Be warned – there’s way too much information at some points but somehow during pregnancy I lost what little modesty I had left.

I think I look a lot more serene than I felt.

I think I look a lot more serene than I felt.

On Wednesday 14th I had a pretty normal day apart from feeling some cramping and lower back pain. I had about a week off because we moved house, and we had finally got everything sorted on Sunday 11th, but was due to go back to work for three more days on Friday. I was really not looking forward to that because I was tired all the time, achy and had a real kind of heavy/pressure feeling in my pelvis. I had been feeling pretty ready to have a baby since we had got everything sorted in the new flat, but was very prepared to go overdue. So in preparation, I was bouncing on my yoga ball each evening (also it was super comfy at the time). And although I was tired and feeling kind of shitty, me and Jaime had also been having fairly regular sexy times. I felt very attracted to him so even though it was kind of difficult and awkward we still went for it. So perhaps, that’s what brought it on quicker. I also went for a little walk on Wednesday and felt absolutely knackered by the time I got back, with more pressure in my pelvis than before.

At about 7pm I noticed I was getting some contractions, which hurt. I had been having  lots of Braxton Hicks, but none so far had actually hurt. These felt like mild period pains. In a sort of jokey way I got out my phone with the contraction timer app and started showing Jaime how to use it. We timed contractions through the evening. They were reasonably regularly about 1 minute long, but the intervals were all over the place – 10 minutes, 6 minutes, 8 minutes, 4 minutes, 8 minutes again, etc. So I was convinced this was absolutely not the real thing. It was way too early and although they hurt, I had expected labour contractions to hurt more to be honest, so just told myself it was nothing, false labour at best. But, all through the day I had been pooing way more than usual so a small part of me was thinking that maybe this was actually it.

I had a bath in the evening which felt amazing but didn’t really ease anything. For some bizarre reason I took into my head to shave my legs and armpits, a very rare occurance throughout the rest of my pregnancy. So by the time I got out I felt all smooth and beautiful, which was nice, but I was still contracting.

Jaime was due to work a double shift starting at 7am on Thursday, so at maybe 10pm we went to bed. By this point I was struggling a bit with the pain and would go up on all fours while contracting to help it. We were still timing and they were getting a bit close together – averaging about 5-6 minutes apart – but still not very regular. Poor Jaime was super tired so he rolled over to get some sleep. We were both telling eachother that this was not really it. I tried my best but at this point really couldn’t even try to sleep through the contractions, so I got up and wandered around a bit. I was still firmly convinced that at any time, the contractions would just stop. I bounced on my ball, then spent about an hour on the toilet, timing again. The intervals were still irregular but now much closer together, between 2 and 4 minutes. I now couldn’t walk or stand up through them either, so kept going down on my hands and knees and trying to breathe slowly.

I went back into our room and Jaime rolled over and asked if we should call the midwife. I was really quite tired by this point and still thought it couldn’t possibly be real, so I was reluctant, because I was sure that if we went to hospital everything would suddenly stop and we’d just have to go home again. But I was in fairly consistent levels of pain through each one – now I would say, they were like medium-painful period pains, but the intensity and regularity made them more difficult to deal with. So, I got out my folder and showed Jaime the number to call.

Jaime had to explain what was going on to three different people and I knew he was very tired and finding it difficult to explain properly. He said things like ‘my partner has been having contractions for one minute’ and I was like ‘no no! I’ve been having them for HOURS’. Eventually we got through to the right person at the midwife-led unit we’d planned on going to, and she asked to speak to me. She asked if my water had broken (it hadn’t) and if I had had a show (I hadn’t, although had been having mucusy discharge for a while and could well have been losing it slowly). I was having difficulty talking through the contractions at this point, and the midwife told me that it was up to us whether we wanted to come in yet. I was completely divided and was too tired to make a proper decision, but when she said she would suggest we probably should think about coming in pretty soon, it convinced me that things were probably Starting to Happen. She also said it would be horrible to contract in the car and the later it got the worse it would be.

We had about a half hour drive, so we took our time getting all our things ready and left just before 3am. Jaime had to call his boss and the girl on the night shift who he was supposed to take over from, to let them know he probably wasn’t going to be coming in. I had to climb down 2 flights of stairs from our flat, which was horrible, then just as the midwife promised, the contractions were awful while we drove. Neither of us were entirely sure where we were going (protip: DON’T leave a practise drive to the hospital to the last minute…) and I had to keep grabbing onto things. Jaime was also very tired and struggling to drive.

We eventually got there, had a brief moment of confusion trying to figure out where we were meant to go, until we just wandered through into the A&E department to ask there. They pointed us in the right direction and asked if I wanted a chair – I really didn’t, because aside from the pain during the contractions (and being super exhausted), I felt pretty much fine.

As I was low-risk, we were going to a midwife-led unit which was part of the hospital. The midwife I had spoken to on the phone showed us to the room, asked some questions and took my maternity notes. She started to explain how things would work – basically we had a lovely private room with our own bathroom, a nice adjustable bed, sink, water jug etc. There was a kitchen just down the hall where we could make tea/coffee and get snacks. She said we could feel free to walk around or do whatever felt comfortable and they would check on us. The first midwife then had to go help another woman, and about half an hour later my new midwife, who I think was called Rachel, came and introduced herself, took a pee sample, did a blood pressure check etc.

She asked me if I wanted a cervical check now or later – she said I was free to settle in a bit if I preferred, but I said I’d rather get checked now to see if this was really happening. Rachel said that it was hard for her to tell how things were going, as I seemed to be coping well – so either I wasn’t that far along/wasn’t actually in labour, or I just had a high pain threshold.  Just before 5am, I got my first check – my cervix was fully effaced, and I was 3cm dilated. Success! Up until then I had been feeling kind of dazed and a bit rubbish, because I honestly STILL thought it was all going to stop any second. When I heard that I felt like everything was going good and the pain started to be easier to deal with – it felt more ‘productive’. I texted my mum saying ‘It’s go time’, we put my lovely Spotify playlist on my Kindle, and Rachel left us to do what we liked after bringing me a ball to bounce on.

She also went through pain relief options with me – they had TENS machines available, rooms with birthing pools, gas and air, and pethidine. She asked me if I might want any, and at that point I really didn’t feel like I needed much, so refused. I didn’t have a birth plan but had thought I would prefer not to have meds if at all possible since I don’t like injections and prefer to feel more in control of myself.

The next couple of hours passed very oddly. I was really tired and a bit shaky. I tried to eat, but had  a bite of cereal bar and then felt horribly sick. I was bleeding a bit from the check but nothing too bad, and my waters hadn’t broken. The contractions were steadily worse – I found the best positions to cope with them was either sitting on the edge of the bed, leaning fully on Jaime or grabbing his hands tightly, or sitting on the ball and either leaning over to grab the side of the bed, or grabbing Jaime’s hands. Jaime said later he could tell they were getting worse because his hands were getting progressively more sore!

Rachel came in several times to check Donny’s heartbeat with a doppler and check on how we were both doing. At around 6am Jaime managed to catch a nap in the chair. I was really getting tired now and was still shivery. I always tend to feel cold/shaky when I get overtired, and I would have liked to eat something but still felt too sick. I was drinking lots of water though.

At 7am the shifts changed and my new midwife was called Helen. She was super amazing and ended up being the midwife to deliver Donny. Again she checked on us plenty, kept offering pain relief but I still felt like I was doing OK without any. Around this time was when the contractions got pretty bad to the point where I had started saying ‘ahhhhhh’ through them (before this I had been just breathing and sometimes saying ‘come on, come on’. Though I’m not sure if I was talking to myself or to the baby). Both Helen and Rachel commented several times that I seemed very calm and was coping well so that was really nice to hear.

I could hear one of the other women was having a real struggle in a room down the hall – I’m not sure how far she was, but I could hear lots of yelling and crying and it made me feel super bad for her, and also lucky that I didn’t feel as bad as that! Something that helped me was just remembering that each contraction was another one I wouldn’t ever have to do again, and was also one more step closer to having my baby, and those thoughts really helped. In fact quite often I found myself just sort of grinning as the contraction faded. Which probably made me look a bit hysterical.

Just before 9am I was checked again to see how we were progressing. This time I was 7cm! Helen asked if I wanted any pain relief, and I decided it might be good to get in the pool, so she went off to get it ready for me. These contractions were pretty painful now but I still felt pretty good about everything, especially because I seemed to be progressing really well – pretty much exactly as expected, about 1cm every hour. We stayed in the room for another hour and by this point I was really grabbing onto Jaime’s hands, and at about 10am Helen came back to take us into the other room. She suggested I peed first.

We all went (fairly slowly) down the corridor with me still contracting every now and again. Helen asked if I wanted to keep my bra on, I actually wasn’t wearing a bra and by then was completely past caring, although to be honest I hadn’t cared that much in the first place, her fingers had been in my vagina, after all. Another midwife called Lucy was helping me into the pool. IT WAS AWESOME. So warm. Helen suggested I tie my hair back but I was kind of confused and hurting so Jaime tried to do it for me. Jaime is apparently not good at tying back hair, so Helen did it instead.

The pool had steps to sit on or lean against and two great handles on one side that you could grab. I floated about on my back for one or two contractions then flipped over onto my hands and knees, leaning against the side. Helen explained they had to keep the water at at least 37 degrees (internal body temperature) if I wanted to deliver in the pool, because the cold stimulates a baby to breathe and you don’t really want a baby trying to breathe in water. Or, if I wanted, I could just labour in the pool and get out for the actual birth. I wasn’t too sure right now but all I knew was that the water was awesome and if I had my way I’d never get out ever.

Jaime got given a sieve to fish the ‘bits’ out, I was bleeding a bit from the checks and there were some chunky bits. Then Helen again left us to it, so for the next half hour or so I contracted until I felt like I really had to poo. I didn’t want to push yet but couldn’t really help doing a little one, and I felt a really obvious ‘pop’, like I had inflated a water balloon with my vagina. Jaime said there was a gush of yellowish stuff and he said ‘I think your water broke’ and I was like ‘yes, yes it did’.

I don’t know if Jaime called her in or she just happened to come in at that point but Helen was there and asking me if I felt pressure and the urge to push, which I did. She said to go for it with the next contractions, so I did. She was monitoring Donny’s heartbeat with a doppler all the way through, and I barely had to move, so that was nice.

Pushing was pretty difficult. It definitely felt like I was going to poo everywhere (although apparently I didn’t! I’m not sure there was any more poo left), and after a few goes I felt it all ‘stretching’ down there which was a new and fun kind of pain added on to the contraction pain. All the way through though I remember thinking ‘is this it? I can handle this.’ Helen had asked if I wanted gas and air while in the pool but I refused because my stomach still felt unsettled and I was worried it might make me sick. Plus, I still felt pretty OK about this level of pain. The pauses between contractions felt like heaven, so there was that to look forward to.

I felt his head descending which was weird and Jaime went to have a look. I remember someone saying ‘look at his hair!’ Helen kept accidentally calling me Lucy because of the other midwife, and also her daughter was called Lucy, which I thought was sweet. I hadn’t taken any antenatal classes so I had been worried I would have no idea how to push right, but it really was quite instinctive. I was thankful I had read about how it really did feel like you need to poo and you should push in the same way, otherwise I probably would have done something different.

The last few pushes kind of sucked. I had been trying to be careful with my pushes and not push past the end of the contraction, and sort of let him go back in if he needed to, since I really did not want to tear. With one, I could feel his head was right there, then on the next one it suddenly seemed to get sucked back in. That was kind of hard to deal with since I thought I would have to start over. But on the next push, at 11:13am, his head came out 🙂 The rest of him didn’t quite follow though, so he was there, half-in half-out, wriggling around. That felt WEIRD. I had to wait a few minutes for the next contraction so I could push the rest of him out. I had sort of expected him to just slide out after his head was out, but he didn’t, it still needed a good push, but the stinging feeling had almost all gone and it was just the pressure-type pain of the contraction. And also by that point I think I was forgetting the pain.

They got me to turn around and Helen pulled him up out of the water. He cried instantly, and was a pale blueish pinkish colour at first. The midwives helped me lift my leg over him and the cord and then put him on my chest. Jaime says I said ‘hello!’ and he couldn’t believe how much love was in my voice – he said it was like meeting someone you’d known for years but hadn’t seen in ages.


The midwives wrapped him in a towel and helped me support him on my chest, making sure his head was above the water. Jaime took a couple photos of us, then Lucy took some pictures of all three of us. I said ‘he’s definitely a Donny’ because we hadn’t been sure about his name and didn’t want to make a firm decision until he was born. Helen let the cord pulse because I’d chosen to deliver the placenta naturally without an injection (I hate needles, they’re horrid). Then Jaime cut it, and I passed Donny to him so I could get out of the pool and go deliver the placenta.

Jaime got to sit down and take off his shirt and get some skin to skin, while I lay there attractively bleeding and looking over at them and almost crying. Helen pushed on my stomach a bit to help the placenta get going – I’m not sure how long it took since my sense of time was right out the window, but after a contraction and a nice slimy push it all came out at once. Helen asked if we wanted to look, and weirdly we did, and she showed us all the bits. It was kind of cool. Jaime passed Donny back to me so he could lay on my chest and be cute some more. He had a vitamin K shot in his thigh while I tried to distract him with boob (this did not work and he yelled, but not for long). Helen left us alone again for a little bit, so we texted everybody to tell them and sent out a few pictures. Then she came back to weigh him – 6lbs 6oz, or 2.9kg, which was pretty much what the last ultrasound had estimated his weight at. Small, but for almost 2 weeks early, not that small. She also checked me to see if I would need any stitches – I didn’t, in her words I had a few ‘grazes’ but other than that had a ‘textbook’ birth. She said I had been very ‘controlled’ with my pushing, which was super nice.

20140515_113747After that everything just seemed really slow and relaxing. I was suddenly STARVING so Jaime went to the other room to get our bags with the snacks in them. I ate a pack of crisps and a cereal bar and we put a nappy on Donny, and got his snuggly dinosaur blanket we’d brought from home. Helen said whenever we were ready we could get dressed and get back to the other room so I could shower and sort myself out a bit. It didn’t take us long – I lay back for a bit and tried to remember that it was real, then Jaime helped me get dressed and we put Donny in the little Perspex crib and wheeled him over to the first room.

I wanted a shower basically straight away and also realised I really needed a wee. Peeing HURT, even when I poured a cup of water over myself, but I had to pee so bad I didn’t care very much. The shower was awesome and I came back out feeling much more human. Helen came through and brought me some lunch – sandwich, yoghurts, apple, pack of dried fruit, bag of crisps and ice cream, and then made me a cup of tea. Jaime went down to the canteen to buy himself a salad and a sandwich. I pretty much inhaled my food, and me and Donny sat in the chair and tried to get the hang of breastfeeding.

Helen finished her shift and we thanked her profusely, she wished us luck, and then introduced a new midwife whose name I can’t remember. She was kind of old-school and kept calling me Mummy as if it was my name, but really only when she wanted to tell me off – e.g. ‘Keep him wrapped up Mummy!’ when it was about a million degrees in there and he had a blanket on anyway. She asked me if I wanted to stay the night and I said I hadn’t really planned on it, so they said that was OK but they would need to see him latch and feed, and also wait until he pooped before we could go. We managed to get him interested enough in feeding and another midwife came to help me get him latched on. It didn’t take too long, he needed a bit of encouragement, but it wasn’t too difficult. The midwife commented that I seemed very laid-back about it, not entirely sure she thought that was a good thing though.

At about 7pm he finally passed his meconium plug and did his first poo. The midwife had been bringing us paperwork and filling stuff out so we were pretty much ready. She gave us what felt like a ‘quiz’ about what we knew about babies and what we planned to do with feeding, sleeping, dummies, etc. We got given a leaflet about SIDS which, summed up, suggested that sharing a bed with your baby is pretty much guaranteeing their death. I also got a few leaflets about postnatal exercises, breastfeeding groups and support, and some family planning numbers for the area.

We took him home at about 8pm the same day. I felt AWESOME, sure I was sore and walking was kind of hard, but I was really ridiculously happy holding my son.



free baby carrier!

free baby carrier!

I just ordered mine today so I can’t vouch for quality but it’s free so that’s pretty super.

empowered women looking at things off camera with their elbows the wrong way round!

Also available: empowered women looking at things off camera with their elbows on backwards!

Use the code FAMILY2014 at checkout to get a free baby sling, you just pay for the shipping. The patterns are beautiful and the sizing is pretty simple. I chose Autumn Blaze but it was actually a pretty tough choice. For shipping to the UK the total was £8.27. It’s pretty rare these offers are available for UK customers so I was really pleasantly surprised to find they do ship here. And now I’m really excited. Once Bellydweller is here I will post reviews of this and my Babymoov wrap (bought from eBay for £20).

The only experience I have with baby carriers is a Mothercare carrier I used to carry my niece in. It was HORRIBLE. My sister has given it to me now and just looking at it reminds me how yuck it was. I’ve since learnt it’s probably because it is a ‘crotch dangler’ and also has rubbish back support. I remember having her facing outward and wearing her for about 15 minutes before it was agony on my back, and thinking it must just be me being a weakling.

My other sister bought wraps for my nephew but didn’t use them for long. She had the long woven-type wraps for him to help with his hip dysplasia, but I don’t think ever really wore him outside the house much except when he was very tiny. I LOVE the idea of having my hands free and still being able to carry the Bear, and my experiments with tying the Babymoov wrap suggest it’s pretty easy to do (I was worried I wouldn’t ‘get’ how to do it but it’s so straightforward) so I’m really hoping we get along with it. I’d much rather have him in a wrap than a buggy, especially because our flat is on the second floor with no lift and I really, really don’t want to carry a buggy up that many stairs.


vertbaudet haul!

vertbaudet haul!

Yesterday my order from Vertbaudet arrived and it was AWESOME. The changing bag (top of picture) is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. This is the one that is free with the code 4773. It’s a good size with two separate compartments inside. I hate carrying too much stuff so a bag this size is perfect for me – it is smaller than other changing bags though and probably if you have multiple children it wouldn’t be big enough. But it has easily fitted all the things I am taking with me for when Bellydweller makes his appearance – wipes, nappies, cotton wool, a few outfits, blanket etc, plus the changing mat that came with it. It’s also wipe clean (made of PVC type material) and has both carry handles and an adjustable shoulder strap.

I chose the sleep sack and the T-shirts just for cuteness, the sleep sack is very soft and ties together at the side rather than zipping up or buttoning. It also has a stretchy pouch bit at the back so you can take it off the baby’s legs for easy changing without having to get them out of the entire thing which I thought was super cool.

Also with my order for some reason I got a free T-shirt for me! I have no idea why and didn’t know I’d be getting it. Strangely they have sent me a size 22-24 which is quite ridiculously too big, however I have to admit it’s pretty comfy and it’s nice to swim around in a shirt once in a while when you don’t feel like being a real person. I’m pretty sure it’ll be coming with me to labour in because it also has a nice wide neck and is very lightweight jersey fabric.

They sent me their catalogue which is terrible because now I want everything in it. Giraffe curtains! With pockets! I also really wish I knew people who were having babies because there is a referral offer with an option for a REALLY cute breakfast set which I want. But none of my friends are pregnant or would be interested at all, so that stinks. Maybe I can bribe a stranger.

packing a hospital bag


I’m inordinately proud of this dragon.

Shit just got a bit more real for me because today, I packed my hospital bag. Holy balls it’s making me feel a little bit terrified just looking at it. But in another way a lot calmer since now I feel at least a little bit organised (even though I haven’t packed anything for the house move or even ordered a washing machine yet, our flat is sitting entirely empty and will be for at least another two weeks…)

First of all, I bought a pre-packed bag from eBay. I had been stressing about packing one because I realised I didn’t even have a suitable holdall type bag so would need to buy one. While looking around for a niceish cheapish bag, I found this seller who pretty much does all the work for you. Guys this bag is AWESOME. It cost me a total of £21.99 (£16 for the bag + contents, plus £5.99 postage). It came with a onesie (with a really nice Winnie the Pooh design), scratch mitts, socks and bib for Bellydweller, a pack of Johnson’s newborn baby wipes, a couple of newborn nappies, cotton balls, Q-tips, tissues, disposable breast pads, disposable sanitary pads (heavy duty ones), mini bottles of shampoo and shower gel, one of those shower body scrubby poof things, lip balm, toothbrush and toothpaste, a hair brush and hair tie, body spray/deodorant, notebook, pen and a printed birth plan checklist. See the listing for some more details – that is really bloody good.

I think it’s a pretty great idea to bring things like travel toothbrush/paste, mini hair brush etc, because knowing me I would probably leave my actual toothbrush behind and then not have a toothbrush and be really sad when I got home. All of the things are also separated out nicely in little plastic bags so your toothbrush doesn’t get furry and you don’t lose a bunch of Q-tips and tissues at the bottom.

I am almost wishing I had gone for the deluxe type bags this seller also does, it was a close thing but budget won out in the end and I wasn’t sure how good they would be, and decided against paying £30 just in case it was rubbish. I’m still really happy though. The bag is a lot smaller than one I probably would have bought for myself, but I’m actually glad about that, because seeing what I can fit into this one has shown me I would not have needed the extra space.

Things I Added Or Will Add When I Actually Leave

  • My own hair brush – I have ridiculous hair and I have an old hairbrush I don’t use as much, so I put that in there along with some extra scrunchies and a hair band. Because I have a lot of hair.
  • Body lotion, because I get dry skin and like to smell familiar.
  • Hand cream, my hands get dry and cracked easy and again I like to smell nice.
  • Several pairs of socks for me, including one big fuzzy pair that are sort of like slippers.
  • Underpants! I was thinking about buying disposable pants but I ended up just shoving in some old giant knickers I have lying around that I don’t mind ruining.
  • Tank tops, not specific nursing ones because I don’t have any, but just nice comfy tank tops that are easy to put on and easy to pull down for boob access.
  • A long jersey skirt with a big waistband, which will probably be part of my labouring or post-labouring outfit.
  • A loose black button-down shirt several sizes too big, for easy feeding and also super comfy laziness.
  • A pair of loose shorts (pyjama styley) for wandering around and not being totally naked.
  • Nursing bras
  • Makeup bag – I’ve packed a little bag with my ‘essentials’ so I can look like a normal human rather than an angry bear, just so my child’s first impressions of me aren’t completely hideous.
  • Water bottle (actually I will probably fill it with Vimto)
  • Snacks – I don’t know exactly what yet but probably crackers, peanuts and Skittles or something.
  • Peri bottle – my lovely sister is lending me her old one along with witch hazel to put in it.
  • Entertainment – my Kindle comes with me everywhere anyway, and I can read, play music, play audiobooks, or look at pictures so that will be nice.
  • Going-home outfit for Bellydweller – I’ll most likely bring at least one or two bodysuits/onesies and a hat or something.
  • My own notebook with things I like to write about in it.
  • Cheeky soft toy dragon I made which has a bell in it. Because you know. Cute.

I have found this bag has ample room for all this and more, which is really nice, and it’s pretty. It does have that new bag smell though, I’ll need to leave it in the bathroom so it absorbs the smell of my perfume and shower products.

Putting the clothes in really brought it home that theoretically, in 4 and a half weeks, I will be pushing a small person out of me. This is eliciting mixed feelings but they’re not all bad ones so that’s probably good I suppose.

I love free stuff

Super cute free stuff especially.

Vertbaudet is a site I just found with some great offers for both new and existing customers. The code 4773 gives you a FREE changing bag (it has animals on it and is REALLY cute) and £15.00 off your order over £30.00. So of course I had to buy some stuff I’d been wanting for a while.

It's a bear! And a towel! £11.90!

It’s a bear! And a towel! £11.90!

I chose this hooded bath towel (sale price £11.90), this all-in-one sleepsuit (sale price £14.00), and this 2 pack of t-shirts for £9.00. All this, plus the changing bag & changing mat, ended up being £20.99 with postage.

I always feel a little bit guilty when buying new baby clothes. I haven’t bought many and most of them have been on sale. I think in total Bellydweller will have less than 10 brand new items of clothing that I have actually bought for him. I just end up feeling like I am wasting money because the truth is he will not be in most of these clothes for very long.

We have been given a LOT of second hand baby clothes which is AWESOME. I am getting pretty excited to move into our new place and start washing and organising all the clothes, because there is some really cute stuff in there. So it’s not like he really needs all of these new clothes.

But, I do want to dress him in some things which at least sort of represent my tastes, and I am deliberately buying slightly bigger sizes so I don’t end up with 8 bazillion tiny tiny tiny bodysuits that will be good for nothing after five days.

One thing I do want to spend good money on is books. Once I have somewhere to store them I don’t think anyone will be able to keep me out of the kids’ section at Waterstones. I’m also looking for books in Spanish, hopefully of stories that I already know, so I can learn Spanish while reading to him. This might be a ridiculously ambitious goal. We’ll see.

smallness, paranoia, cake

I was not being antisocial, I was checking the tide times to make sure we did not get stuck and have to live in a cave or be eaten by selkies.

I was not being antisocial, I was checking the tide times to make sure we did not get stuck and have to live in a cave or be eaten by selkies.

I have tended towards the small side during my pregnancy. Obviously, as I wasn’t even aware anything was different until fairly recently. However I did think that over the past couple of weeks I have got noticeably  bigger. I now have a defined roundness that screams ‘baby!’ rather than ‘fatty!’ At least I think so.

On Tuesday I had my 32 week appointment. My fundal measurement was apparently only 2cm more than last time – I’m measuring 29cm when I should be at least 30, usually between 30-34. I also had traces of protein in my urine, so had to send off a sample and be scheduled in for another scan. I’m not complaining about this because it is fun to see our little ghostfishbaby being all weird in there, and he’s much more active lately so there’ll probably be a lot to see. But it is one of those ‘very slightly’ worrying things where it’s most likely nothing at all, there’s just this ever so tiny chance that something is catastrophically wrong.


Also on Tuesday we went to the beach, and looking at the photos I was bemused to realise my belly did not actually look as big as it does to me.

I miss that curve in my back.

I miss that curve in my back.

For comparison, here is a bump selfie I took at 21 weeks. I’ve grown, but maybe not that much.

I’m spending this afternoon eating pringles, hummus and cake. I haven’t bothered to weigh myself in a long time so I will just assume I am about 50 stone and therefore beyond help.

As a side note I am extremely pleased that my midwife has chosen not to weigh me at any of our appointments. I think I was weighed at the very beginning of the year and since then have not been forced to confront the scales. This is good.

My boss told me I should schedule myself for a C-section now. All I can think of is the story my A level Law teacher told us about the Caesarean birth of her daughter. She told us she was quite out of it from painkillers and then the anaesthetic and it felt like someone had reached inside her and was doing the washing up. This sounds far too surreal to me. I have enough worries with my ridiculous pregnancy dreams. I really hope the baby will not be born via osmosis through the wall of my stomach and then be attached to an umbilical cord growing out of my own bellybutton forever.

feelings of inadequacy and terror

I am a worrier. I always have been. As a child I would get stomach aches from so much worry. If at any point I am not worried, I start worrying that there’s something I have forgotten to be worried about.

I don't think we've ever made a heart with our hands on my belly. Probably means we don't love him enough.

I don’t think we’ve ever made a heart with our hands on my belly. Probably means we don’t love him enough and he’ll be born with a goat’s head.

Pregnancy has multiplied this by about ten thousand. I am worried that I will not be ready with all the things before the baby comes. I am worried about health problems, and also about being one of those parents who always thinks there’s something wrong when there isn’t. I am worried about premature birth, c-sections, episiotomies and drugs. I am worried  I won’t love my baby enough. I am worried i will love him too much and neglect Boyfriend. I am worried about not working for 9 months and going even more insane. I am worried that I will somehow not be paid maternity allowance and that we will all have to live on toothpaste and carpet lint. I am worried that we won’t find a new  place on time, or that the flat I have found and like will be too expensive  for us. I am worried  that I am not responsible enough to handle a baby and will forget basic things like which way up they go. I am worried that I’m not doing enough to prepare, but I am worried about doing too much  in case I jinx myself. I am worried I don’t work hard enough now, that I’m lazy and that other people will look down on me for being lazy. I am worried that how tired and overwhelmed I feel right now is not normal and that I am just being overdramatic, and should  just shut up about it.

It is enough to make me want to go to bed and not come out again for about 18 years. By that time the baby will be grown up (somehow) and I would have at least one less thing to worry about.

How can this NOT make you cry?

How can this NOT bring you to tears? HE MADE HER SHEPHERD’S PIE, BECAUSE IT’S ALL HE CAN DO.

But, I can’t do that. I have to get up most days like a normal person and go to work or make phone calls or Organise My Life without having a nervous breakdown. And all I can do is keep reminding myself that I am at least fairly capable and do a lot more than many people, although not as much as some but that’s inevitable. I remind myself that in my second trimester I held down two stressful jobs and worked ridiculous hours. I tell myself that no matter how impossible it seems, we do have enough money for a nice house and enough food and a certain number of nice things. I try to think about the fact that for every day I’ve spent crying into jugs of Angel Delight about sad adverts, I’ve probably spent at least five being a competent and contributing member of society.

It doesn’t make the terror go away. Sometimes only lying face down and crying it out does that. But that’s OK. I’m learning to express my fears to other people and so offload a small part of the massive tangled knot of anxiety and stress that was once in my stomach, but Bellydweller has pushed up into the middle of my ribcage.

Photo by Stuart Chapman

Upside: can finally pretend to be a smuggler/dinosaur hunter/Indiana Jones without people judging too harshly. Downside: Small person will be with me and I have to remember not to drop him in the sea.

I have  begun making lists of the things that worry me the most, and then opposing lists of the things which offset them. For example – being at home for almost a year, alone, with someone entirely reliant on me for survival, means that I will also have the time to do a whole lot of fun stuff – I can go on trips to the beach, to museums, and parks that I wouldn’t go to alone. Although Boyfriend will be working, we’ll at least get to spend time together on all his days off – no more horrible conflicting work schedules.

I’m thinking about all the adventures we can have in places I haven’t been before, and the things I’ll be able to teach him, and watching him and Boyfriend together. And I think it’ll be OK.