Baby Wishlist

I have to admit I have gone a little crazy when it comes to buying for our baby. I was buying items for him before I even got my positive pregnancy test! That sounds really crazy I know but I just knew I was pregnant. I have always had that love for all things baby so the minute we started trying to conceive it finally gave me that excuse to spend. He probably won't wear a lot of it and some people may consider it a waste of money but I don't. I really enjoyed buying every little item and what he doesn't use I will donate to charity. 

Although we have plenty for the baby already I do have my eye on a few extras. I've put together a little baby wishlist of items I want to buy for our little one. 

These days there are so many great shops both on the high street and online. If you want something extra special why not treat baby to his or her first designer clothes.

Monnalisa baby clothes stock some beautiful pieces which are are perfect for the the upcoming festive season. 
I can see why some parents spend more money on clothes for their children rather than on their own wardrobe and I am guilty of it already. 

This is a PR Collaboration. 

National Cat Day

Okay, It's time to fess up. I am a crazy cat lady. There I said it. Well if you know me you probably already knew that. My cats are my fur babies and there's not much I wouldn't do for them. 

 It's not just my cats though I am animal mad. I honestly think I care more about animals than I do my own kind. One of the main things both Nick and I want to teach our son is how to love, care and respect animals. I don't think that value is shown to many children these days and those children grow up thinking that animals and pets in general are property and play things rather than a living creature that depends on you. 

Seeing as it is National Cat Day I thought it would be fitting to write up this little post and share some of my favourite pictures of my boys with you. Enjoy!

Pregnancy Diary: Week 36


36 Weeks Pregnant.

Week 36 was one eventful week. It stared off with a midwife appointment on the Monday and everything was fine. It was another in and out appointment. Blood pressure good and babies heartbeat great. I was even measuring a little better too, no longer was measuring big but more his ideal. He was also 2/5 engaged! I felt amazing and the midwife even commented on well I looked. I left the appointment feeling fantastic and really happy at how things were progressing.

A few days later I became a little worried as the baby hadn't been moving as much as usual. I had felt him move but his routine and movements had totally changed. I decided to give the midwife unit a ring. They told me to come in to make sure everything was ok. I went in and first thing the midwife did was have a feel at the baby. She told me he was now fully engaged and that he had gone back to back. When she told me that everything clicked into place, that was why his movements are different because he has switched positions. I was glad there was a reason for the change and that it wasn't all in my head. She hooked me up on the monitor for half an hour just to be certain and true to form he started kicking away. Everything was fine and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

As the week continued and the baby engaged further I became really sore. My whole lower back, thighs and down below were painful and stiff and I could barely walk. I think it was mainly due to him changing to back to back which is why it was so painful. I felt like this for a few days but thankfully it did subside.

My symptoms are still the same as the previous few weeks and I do feel a lot more tender how he is engaged. I'm feeling a lot of changes and pains where I hadn't before. I keep reminding myself that these pains are good, it means he is getting ready. 

My bump growth is less noticeable as the weeks go by but I do feel small for 36 weeks. Since he went back to back my lower bump has sort of deflated somewhat, kind of like a popped balloon! It is also insanely itchy! I have a feeling I may have a growth spurt in the next few weeks.

Now there are only a few more weeks to go I think we both may explode with excitement! I don't think it has totally sunk in yet. We finally decided on a middle name for him this week too which will be Nicholas after his Daddy! Noah Nicholas.

It's been a week of lots of ups and downs but it means we are getting to that final hurdle and our boy is within our grasp. We love him so much. 

Guess the Weight

I've been thinking of writing this post for a while now and seeing as I am now full term I think it's a good time to get the ball rolling just incase our baby shows up a little earlier than planned. I thought it would be nice idea for me to have a post where we can all guess the weight of my little one. Once he is here I can look back and see who guessed correctly or who was the closest! Everyone is expecting him to be a big boy but you never know! He could surprise us all and be a little dot, but that would be a big surprise! He has been measuring big throughout the pregnancy but is now measuring more his ideal. Hopefully he won't be keeping us waiting too much longer. 

Family guesses
Mummy - 8lb 6oz
Daddy - 9lb 2oz
Nanna Lorraine- 8lb exactly
Nanny Jackie- 8lb 1oz
Granddad Mark - 8lb 1oz
Granddad Gary - 7lb 10oz

What's your guess? 

Bears for Bliss: Design a Bib for Charity Bear

Baby products company Natures Purest is calling on mums, dads, siblings and grandparents to get creative and design a bib for a special edition bear which will be sold in support of Bliss, the special care baby charity.

Budding artists can submit their design to be in with a chance of seeing it produced on a special edition charity Hug Me ‘Bear for Bliss’. The winner will also claim a £250 Natures Purest voucher.

A limited number of 300 bears will be produced with the chosen design and all profits from the special edition bears will go to Bliss, giving vital support and care to premature and sick babies in the UK.

The winning designer, as chosen by the Natures Purest’s Facebook fans, will also receive a £250 voucher to spend on Natures Purest’s range of toys, bedding and clothing for babies made from 100% organically-grown cotton.

The special edition bears will go on sale next year to coincide with the launch of a new range of clothing for tiny babies from Natures Purest.

Jane Albon, owner of Natures Purest, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Bliss, a charity which does fantastic work for so many families in the UK.

“We’re inviting people to get creative and take inspiration from wherever they can - their own experiences of motherhood, childhood memories, or even by getting the children involved.

“Keep checking our Facebook page as we’ll be putting the best designs on there as they come in and we’ll be asking people to vote for their favourite from a shortlist in December.”

Visit for details of how to enter. 

Entries close December 2nd.

Nonabox Subscription Box - October Edition

I have previously reviewed the September Nonabox and gave you the low down on the company, concept, service and product. So if you want to read more about that then please take a look at my previous post

This post is purely to review the highly anticipated October Nonabox. Was it a thumbs up or thumbs down from bump and I? Read on to find out.

So here is what I found in my box this month -

At first glance I was impressed as there are a lot of suitable products in there for a pregnant lady like myself. There are also goodies which will be suitable for my newborn when he arrives. This was an improvement from last months box.

Cloud B Sheep on the go - I was happy to see another Cloud B cutie in my box although it would of been nice to have a different brand inside. It is a plush teddy which has a soothing sound machine inside. I prefer it without cause I can't imagine my baby finding those sounds soothing. I don't know if I got a faulty sound box but the heartbeat sound bite sounds like music of a horror film! Still it's a lovely toy without the sound box.

x2 Pasito A Pasito Dummy Clips
- I don't know how I feel about dummy clips yet. I guess I can only form an opinion on them once our son is here. They are really attractive clips though and look very well made. The idea of a bell on one doesn't seem like a good idea to me though.

Difrax Dummy
- A BPA free dummy which is suitable from newborn. I am unable to read the packaging as it is Dutch but it looks like a nice product and one our baby will use if he takes to a dummy.

x2 Mama Mio Stretch Mark Butter - A pregnant woman can never have too much stretch mark cream and this thick lotion really soothes my stretch marks which are sore and itchy most days. 

x1 Waterwipes - I received these in my September box too. They are sample size but will come in handy. They are a product that I am looking forward to use once the baby has been born. 

x2 - Teapigs Tea Bags - Two sample caffeine free tea bags. The taste was a bit strong for me but by adding a bit of sugar it was very refreshing.  

Pebbles Pedi Wand - My feet have gone through the wars during pregnancy especially when I was still working. It is near enough impossible to reach my feet with my bump in the way but that gives me an excuse to ask my other half do it instead!  

Waterbaby Pregnancy Drink - I'm looking forward to sampling this, it's in the fridge chilling as I type. It's described as a pregnancy care drink. It is citrus flavoured and contains folic acid amongst other vitamins. 

As I have previously said I was happy with this months box. Although after reading other people's reviews I don't understand why something like a burp cloth would be given in a toddler box but not in a pregnancy/newborn box. I would of been happy to see it in my box as it is a lot more useful and practical than say two dummy clips. 

What do you think of my box? Have you subscribed?

I was sent this product for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Pregnancy Diary: Week 35


35 Weeks Pregnant.

Now I am at the 35 week milestone my baby seems so close and within my reach. The thought that he could be here in just 5 weeks time is incredible. Where has the time gone? I say that every week but my pregnancy and this year has gone so fast it's frightening but also very exciting!

As the pregnancy draws to an end my symptoms don't change too drastically week by week. One a whole I feel great but it is getting increasingly more uncomfortable to do simple little things. I have felt pressure on my cervix for a while now but this week I feel so sore as there is a lot of weight down there. If I have been sat down for a while, then stand up I feel everything drop, it is so uncomfortable and makes it very difficult to walk. I am also struggling to sleep at night time. I will just lie in bed exhausted but my mind just won't shut off. I lie there for hours just dreaming about the day we meet our baby, holding his little hand and having that first cuddle. Then as soon as I hear the birds chirping and it starts to go light I seem to be able to sleep. Maybe it's my body's way of telling me our baby is going to be a night owl just like me. My body's way of preparing me for all those sleepless nights. I'm ready for them, bring it on! 

I don't really feel much bigger on the bump scale this week but I have a feeling that I may really pop over the next few weeks. Our boy is still
 very active in my belly but now that he is running out of space his movements are more like big turns and shifts rather than sharp little kicks. Every movement feels amazing even the strong rib prods and the little hands tickling behind my hip bone.  

I had my baby shower this week and I blogged all about it here. It was an incredible night, surrounded by my fantastic family and friends. We had lots of yummy treats and played lots of fun games. It will be a night I will remember forever.  

That's it for another week. I wonder how many more of these posts I will write before he decides to enter the world. I could be writing a 41 week post, but I really hope not. I have begun getting really impatient now and just want him here with us. We cannot wait to meet him!

All about me

I was tagged in this post by Colette from We're going on an Adventure. I don't tend to do many posts like these as I always think people won't find them interesting but I think it's a great way to get to know other bloggers better. It also gives me something to do while my other half is having a beer and watching The Hobbit for the millionth time! So here goes! 

First off tell us your name and what you do . . .
Well if you had of asked me three weeks ago I would tell you that I was a team leader in a shoe shop. Not the most glamorous of jobs but I do enjoy working in the retail industry and what women doesn't enjoy being surrounded by heels and handbags? At the moment though I have just started Maternity leave and will be off for the next year! I have been off for a couple of weeks now and have been really enjoying the down time. I have spent it blogging, cleaning, cooking and relaxing. I will continue to do this until our little one arrives.

I live at home with . . . 
My lovely fiancĂ© and father to be Nick, he's perfection and ying to my yang. 
Also our three terribly cute and naughty cats, Ted, Baby and Mona and soon to be newborn baby boy too!

My favourite thing to do is . . . 
It's extremely hard to choose one favourite thing to do and it will change once our baby is here. I enjoy the simple things like sitting down to a movie with my other half with a table full of snacks. 

My favourite thing to eat is . . .  
Banana and Nutella pancakes.

When I get cross I . . . 
I bottle it up or vent. It depends on who I get cross with. 

Sometimes I worry because . . . 
We aren't on the property ladder yet. We currently rent and with the house prices on the rise I worry about not being able to get a mortgage especially now we have a baby and our future to think about.

My favourite book is . . . 
How can anyone answer this? There are so many wonderful books but I have recently really enjoyed The Game of Thrones series. It's incredible.

My favourite toy is . . . 
My iPhone. It is always glued to my hand. 

I dislike . . . 
People who harm animals, rude people, mushrooms, when technology doesn't work and losing things.

When I grow up I want to be . . . 
I would of loved to have either been a zoo keeper or detective. I guess I can still dream! 

I tag:
Shaz from A Pinch of Shaz

One Month To Go

It's the final count down, there is now less than one month to go until my due date! I am on the home stretch and my baby is within my reach! I hope he doesn't keep us waiting too long but it is totally up to him when he decides to make an appearance. I keep thinking about the first time I set eyes on him and my very first cuddle. I am beyond excited!

My Baby Shower

Baby showers originate from the States but are becoming increasingly more popular here in the UK as of late. I've always thought they were such a lovely concept because they bring all your close family and friends together to celebrate the upcoming arrival of your little one. 

My Mother in Law to be kindly offered to throw the baby shower for me and at first I was a worried as I am not one for being the centre of attention and prefer to take a back seat. I never had an 18th, 21st or even an Engagement party for this reason and I have always regretted it. I didn't want that same regret in turning down the baby shower and I am so glad that I went ahead with it as it turned out to be a pretty unforgettable night!

My baby shower was on Friday 11th October at 7pm and I arrived early so I would be in time to greet all the guests. When I walked through the door I was amazed at how much effort had been put into every single detail. There were blue balloons everywhere, nappy pin confetti, baby vests on washing lines, banners, handmade pom poms, a gingerbread favour tree and even a baby made out of nappies! My Mother in Law must of spent hours making the cake, it was beautiful. It was decorated with thick blue icing, sugar babies, teddies, butterflies and bottles made out of icing.. She had baked ginger bread favours for each guest in the shapes of baby clothes and prams. There were little paper nappies filled with white and blue sweets and the cutest cupcakes you have ever seen. Everything was handmade, stunning and delicious. I still can't believe how perfect everything looked and I can't thank her enough. 

When my family and friends arrived I tried my best to introduce everyone. Most people hadn't met each other before but thankfully the ice was broken early on in the evening and everyone got a long well. While everyone chatted I put all the gifts people kindly brought in the table for later. I have to admit I did have sneaky peaks into the gift bags when no one was looking!  

After everyone had relaxed and had a glass of wine we begun the traditional baby shower games. First up we played feed the baby which was like pin the tail on the donkey but instead you are trying to stick a bottle in the babies mouth. That was a lot of fun, who doesn't like being blind folded and spun around! Next we had a game where everyone had to guess the size of my bump with a piece of string. Now this got a lot of laughs because some people guessed way too big but it was my Sister who was the closest and won! We also had a nursery rhyme quiz which I was terrible at. There was a lot of old school rhymes in there that I think I will have to learn before the baby arrives. Last but not least we had the ever so popular dirty nappy game. If you haven't heard of this one before you are in for a treat. Different types of bars of chocolate are melted into nappies and passed around the group. You have to decipher what chocolate bar is in each dirty nappy by smell. We all got stuck in and very competitive. We all ended up in hysterics especially when my Mum decided to nibble a bit of chocolate out of the nappy! I can proudly say I came second in that game, I know my chocolate! 

We then had a bite to eat and a natter and I got stuck into all the gorgeous gifts everyone had bought for our boy. He received a hamper full of baby essentials, towels, snow suits, toys, books, clothes, vouchers and lots more. He is one lucky little lad and everyone wants to spoil him just as much as we do. 

We ended the night with a toast to Noah and to our future as a family. It was a truly special night and one I will remember forever. 

Pregnancy Diary: Week 34


34 Weeks Pregnant.

A lot has changed this week. I am still getting awful heartburn but it seems to of developed into acid reflux and I now cough up acid which isn't very pleasant. I am still struggling to sleep but it has gotten worse. It's not that I am uncomfortable in bed, it's just that I am unable to drift off. Most days I will see the sun setting and hear the birds singing before I have even had a wink of sleep. Back pain has jumped on the band wagon this week too and if I am on my feet for long periods of time it becomes very sore and stiff which makes it difficult to walk. Thankfully I haven't had to deal with that throughout the entire pregnancy which I know some women do. The final symptom to emerge this week is what people refer to as "Lightening Crotch." My pelvis area feels extremely heavy, almost feels bruised and I get the occasional shooting pain every now and again. I have heard that this is totally normal as it is just the baby getting himself prepared and into the correct position. These changes are welcomed because no matter how uncomfortable they are they are just my body's way of getting ready for labour. 

It's harder to tell how much the bump has grown this week. I know it has gotten bigger though because a T'shirt that just about fit me last week is now too short on my stomach. I have measured big at every midwife appointment but to me I don't feel huge. In early pregnancy when I would think about how big I would be at 34 weeks I expected to be a lot bigger. I know there could potentially be another 6 weeks left to become humongous though so I'm enjoying not being massive just yet although I do struggle to get up off the sofa now and bending down is near enough impossible. 

The baby feels even stronger this week and his movements make my belly protrude at funny angles. I have been enjoying these new feelings thoroughly. When you touch the bump he will respond with a little kick, it's lovely. Also when I listen to my favourite band he will wriggle around like crazy like he is dancing. He either has great music taste like his Mummy or is telling me to turn it off, haha. I know I say this all the time but I am going to miss him being in my belly. 

I'm getting used to being at home on maternity leave. Like I had planned I have been keeping busy cleaning, cooking and sorting but I also have been enjoying plenty of naps and have been indulging in trashy American TV. I love it and I am making the most of the free time while I still can. I also like to spend countless hours just imagining our baby. It almost feels like a dream that he will be here soon! 

Take Care Of Your Hair

I've had long hair for as long as I can remember. I'm really boring when it comes to my hair and whenever I go to the hairdressers I have grand plans of having a fringe cut in or having my hair highlighted but every time I leave with just a trim. It's safe to say my hair is stuck in a rut. 

As I don't tend to experiment with my hair I focus on my hairs condition. It really pays to take care of your hair and I do get compliments on how healthy it looks. I have combination hair and it can be tricky to take care of at times. If I don't wash or style my hair in the correct manner it can become knotty and static or frizzy and limp. There are tips I have found over the years of trials and tribulations with my mane that have really helped maintain a healthy look:

* Use a gentle shampoo and when applying be gentle when massaging into scalp.
* Condition on a regular basis, your hair will thank you for this.
* After a wash and condition rinse with cold water which helps achieve a healthy shine.
* Use a decent brush or comb and try not to over brush your hair as this can cause breakage. 

* Hot oils and hair masks are ideal for when your hair needs extra TLC.
* Let your hair dry naturally when you can and try not to use heated styling tools every single day. 

I have long and heavy hair there is only so much I can do when it comes to styling. I've found adding extensions for a bit of extra volume really adds a touch of glamour for nights out when you want a different look. It also prevents you from having to over style your hair causing excess damage. High quality Remy couture hair are perfect for the job and you can shop online at Paul's Hair World.

Do you have any haircare tips you care to share?

This is a PR collaboration. 

Competition: Win a Chocolate Pizza

Entering competitions is a hobby of mine and is something I really enjoy to do. I also enjoy hosting the odd competition or two and I love chocolate! So with those thoughts on board I decided I would give all my lovely readers a chance to win a yummy Chocolate Pizza! Who doesn't like free chocolate? 

The competition is going to run until my due date. Never mind what came first, the Chicken or the Egg? More like what came first, the Baby or the Pizza?! 

It's the same as ever. All you need to do to enter is to use the Rafflecopter form below and please read the T&C's. Thank you and good luck! 

1. 1 winner of 1 chocolate pizza of their choice from Toxic Fox website.
2. UK entries only.
3. Competition shall run until 15/11.
4. Incomplete entries will be forfeited.
5. Must be following on the blog, twitter or facebook so I am able to contact you if you win.

13 Personal Questions Tag

1. What do you order at Starbucks?
I don't go to Starbucks often but if I was to go to Costa or Rhode Island I tend to order a Vanilla Latte. Ohhh I could just drink one right about now.

2. What's one thing in your closet you can't live without?
My black boyfriend blazer. It literally looks good with everything and a blazer never seems to go out of fashion. 

3. What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
When I was a child I really wanted to be a wrestler. Yes, I'm being serious.

4. What's one thing you want to do before you die?
I would love to move abroad when I have retired. At the minute I'd like to think we would move to Spain. I love Spain, particularly Majorca and it feels like a home away from home. 

5. What's one food you can't live without?
Without a doubt it would have to be crisps. I could live off them. 

6. What's one quote that you live your life by?
I don't really live my life by quotes. I take each day as it comes. Perhaps that is my quote!

7. Favourite Perfume?
I love perfumes and have a few that I adore such as Coco Chanel Mademoiselle, Dior Addict 2, Miss Dior Cherie, Calvin Klein Euphoria but if I had to chose it would be Dior Addict 2. It's such a lovely scent that you can wear night or day.  

8. What's your number 1 song on your iPod/iTunes?  
It changes weekly but at the minute I can't get enough of Truck Stop Blues by New Found Glory.

9. What kind of style would you describe yourself as having?
Casual and comfortable.

10. Favourite number? 

11. Two hobbies?
Blogging and photography. Sorry, nothing out of the box there. 

12. Two pet peeves?
People who don't respect animals and treat them like objects. When someone bangs into you while shopping and then doesn't apologise, that really gets to me. 

13. Your guilty pleasure?
American TV shows. Cannot get enough! 

I Love Pregnancy

I thought I would write a post all about everything I've loved during my pregnancy. Becoming pregnant has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. Nurturing this life inside me has been a life changing experience and one I have enjoyed thoroughly. It's almost sad that it will shortly be coming to the end but I will then have my baby then, at long last. 

Firstly of course I love my boy. I love the thought of him being in my belly, the thought that I am never alone. He is always with me wherever I go and his big kicks are a reminder that he's strong and well. Words can't express how much love I feel for him already and I can't even comprehend how I will feel when I lay eyes on him for the first time. It brings tears to my eyes imagining it and I get goosebumps. I already have this super protective maternal instinct over him and I can't wait for it to develop and grow.

My bump, I have been bump obsessed. Watching my bump get bigger and bigger week by week has been incredible. The stretch marks as unsightly as they look are and will always be a constant reminder of carrying him and I am already proud of them. I know for a fact that once he is here I will miss my bump so much. I find so much comfort from giving it a rub and totally used to it being there now. I will miss his little wriggles. When I first wake up in the morning and he is nice and still if I begin to talk he will move around in response. When you feel your baby move inside you it's a magical indescribable feeling. 

I love how pregnancy has brought Nick and I even closer. The countless hours we've spent talking about the life we've created and about our future as a family. About our hopes and dreams for our son and what values we want him to have. It is the biggest, most exciting period of our lives and we can't wait to be a family. 

The crazy dreams. I have given up watching films as I may as well sleep as my dreams are so much more entertaining. From playing domino's in the big brother house, to giving birth to kittens there is never a dull moment in my mind at bed time.

The excuse to eat whatever I fancy. Waking up at 2am and eating cake then thinking well I am eating for two! I will really miss using that excuse. I don't think my scales will miss it though as I must of put on at least two stone during the pregnancy.

I probably could go for another hour but I will end it here. As you can see I have enjoyed every second of my pregnancy and really looking forward to the next chapter!  

Guest Post: Gemma's Pregnancy Journey

I can remember the words she said; I remember the tone of her voice. 
It’s as if they were said ten minutes ago – not on the 16th April 2013.
"I’m sorry – there’s a problem with your baby!"
And then she was gone.

It was our 20 week scan with baby #3. One minute we were overjoyed at the prospect of welcoming another baby Girl in to our family; then after being scanned by 3 different sonographers we were being ushered in to the Antenatal Day Unit while the midwife there made the referral calls to a hospital nearly 80 miles away in Liverpool. At this point we had no idea of the severity of this “problem” and how lucky we were that it was picked up at this stage. This was just the beginning. Over the next two weeks we would go through hell and back again.

Our first visit to the Liverpool Women’s Hospital we we’re told our unborn daughter had Common Truncus Arteriosis and Ventricular Septal Defect, but they could operate and following a 4 week stay at Alder Hey she would be ready to come home. But on our second visit she had an Interrupted Aortic Arch, Ventricular Septal Defect as well as a narrow Aorta – with a 50-70% chance of making it to her 5th Birthday, even less of a chance of making it to adulthood. My world came crashing down around me. How could this be? How they be talking about my baby?

The drive home was awful, 2hrs in the back of a car trying to make sense of what we’d been told when the whole time I could feel her kicking me, as if she was begging me not to give up on her; begging me to explore more avenues. This is exactly what we did. 9 days later we were on our way to meet the team at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. For the whole train journey there I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. What if they gave us an even worse prognosis. Am I setting myself up for more heartache?

I shouldn’t have worried. The moment Dr Sullivan walked in to the scan I knew I was going to like him. He looked like a good old fashioned Doctor, white jacket and stethoscope to boot. But I didn’t look at the screen for the duration of the scan, I just couldn't. We were asked to wait for Dr Sullivan in the counselling room, my stomach was in knots – I just wanted to know what they found. They agreed “broadly” with what Liverpool had said. My heart sank. But they had a plan. They would operate at a few days old to close the interruption and repair the VSD. When I asked if my baby girl would live a normal life afterwards, Dr Sullivan looked disgusted and replied “Well I’d like to think my Surgeons can do that for her.”

We went home with a great weight lifted off our shoulders – we were in safe hands.
As the pregnancy continued I tried not to dwell on what was about to happen and immersed myself in my two older children, spoiling them, taking them on days out – trying to create happy memories for them before our world was potentially changed forever. I had moments of sheer terror when I could only imagine the worst, mainly at night when I was trying to sleep.

We had already decided that this would be our final baby. As selfish as it sounds, I feel like I have been robbed of the pleasure of enjoying my final pregnancy. Instead of enjoying meeting our new baby – I dreaded the day she arrived because I knew she would be taken away from me as soon as she entered the world. There would be no exited phone calls to let our family know she had arrived. Because as soon as we arrived – that is when the worry would start. Towards the end I just wanted it to all be over with. I wanted her to be here. I wanted her to know the outcome. I wanted to be able to look to the future with certainty. Would I have three kids this time next month. Or would I be a mother of two.

At 2am on Wednesday 21st August we received the call from London that there was a bed available for me and that we should make our way down to London to be induced that day.
Saying goodbye to Osh & Isabella, not knowing when we would see them again was soul destroying How I wished things were different and that Martha wasn’t ill;  that I didn’t have to leave 2 kids behind in order to have the third. I don’t remember the train journey.
I don’t remember the walk from the station to the Hospital. I was completely numb. Operating on auto-pilot.

I was given a pessary to induce labour. They would leave me for 24 hours unless I was showing signs of being in Labour. This was to be the best labour & birth I’d had.
The rest of Wednesday was rather uneventful  I walked from my labour room to the cafe and back again countless times for Tea & Cake. Jumping down each step to try to get my waters to pop.  We even managed to laugh and joke, it was as if we were in a bubble; a safe place – the baby whom was on her way was not seriously ill...she was our perfectly healthy baby girl. But nothing happened.

As Thursday morning approached  I started getting a few tightening but nothing to get excited about. However by lunchtime I was on the gas & air, something was happening, I wouldn’t admit that to anyone though. I was so afraid of it all being in my head that I refused to let the midwife examine me; I wanted to give the pessary the benefit of the full 24 hours. I continued with the Gas & Air and played puzzle games with Mark and my Mam.

As 3:30pm rolled around I was really uncomfortable, I prayed she would say there had been some change as I couldn’t imagine being that uncomfortable for nothing.
Hallelujah, I was 2cm dilated. Not much considering I needed to get to 10, but it was enough so she could break my waters.

Then the contractions became stronger and stronger. Although I was coping with the Gas & Air, I didn’t want to – I wanted to enjoy my last ever birth experience. At 5pm I was finally given my epidural, as much as it hurt being put it – once it was done the relief was worth it. I was finally able to sleep. They wanted to start me on Syntocinon to speed up my contractions but the Consultant wasn’t happy with the trace – they made me lie on my side to see if that would help things. Thankfully that worked and 20mins later they were able to start.At 6pm my Mam went to get herself a bite to eat. At 6:15pm the Midwife told Mark he should also go otherwise it would be too late.

Over the next hour I was in and out of sleep, exhausted from all the months of worrying and weeks of no sleep due to being heavily pregnant. Then I started to feel what I can only describe as an Orange between my legs, I convinced myself it was only my catheter. But 10 mins later I could feel it again. I pulled the midwife to one side and said “I think something is happening.” She lifted my blanket and squealed. She then ran out of the room to get the Paediatricians and Consultants and to warn NICU that baby was on her way.

It was 7:35pm, and just over 4 hours since my waters we’re broken – I was ready to push.
With Mark & Mam by my side, with Connie (the midwife) clamping my leg against her hip to support me. I delievered Martha Grace at 7:53pm. She came out screaming and a picture of health. She was the image of her big sister. The paediatricians’ looked her over and wrapped her up. Mark was the first to have a cuddle while I got on with finishing off my delivery. My tiny little bundle was then brought to me. She looked perfect. At 6lbs 1oz she was tiny. But I was in love with her. She was here. The next thing I knew I was being told to give her a kiss and say goodbye. Then she was gone. Whisked out of the room to go to Neonatal Intensive Care.

The next time I got to see her was 3 hours later once they’d stabilised her. She was inside an incubator. The only thing keeping her alive was the hormone “Prostin” which was being administered through a peripheral line. I was taken to the Antenatal Unit just after 1am. I had to leave my baby behind, to sleep in an incubator on her own, no Mammi, no Daddy – just a Doctor and a Nurse. As I slept that night, there was no baby asleep in a Cot next to my bed. I cried myself to sleep out of exhaustion and fear.

As much as I had worried throughout my pregnancy – this was only the beginning. As much as it tortured me not being able to hold my newborn daughter – in a few days I would have to see her through open Heart Surgery.

Guest Post: Emma's Pregnancy Journey

I didn't plan my pregnancy nor did I believe it when I found out I was. I was 9 weeks & 5 days when I found out, I had no morning sickness so if it wasn't for my sister saying she thought I was pregnant it would have been left even longer maybe till I got a bump! The pregnancy was very straight forward, no morning sickness, no problems with growth of Alfie, head down quite early on. Everything was perfect. 

My due date was the 17th April but nothing seemed to be happening around that date and I was pretty deflated that my baby didn't want to make an appearance. I have a comfy tummy! I did get booked in for an induction at my 40 week appointment, but hoped I wouldn't have to do it that way. I had a sweep at 40+8, it was a little uncomfortable but nothing to worry about. Nothing happened so I had got in my head that it would be an induction. Two days after my sweep the labour started, even though I was overdue I didn't think it was labour. It was a back labour so I just thought my back was really hurting. My mucus plug went but it looked really bloody and I was quite worried. I did ring the hospital to see if they would just check on me and told me they weren't busy so to pop up as soon as I was ready. 

My sister took me up to the hospital as my boyfriend was at work. She sat with me for a while until my boyfriend managed to leave work and come and sit with me while I was being monitored. I was monitored for over 2 hours, the midwife just left us. The monitor kept beeping and heart rate going down but when I mentioned it the midwife she said the pads were losing contact. I still wasn't assured when she told me that, I knew something wasn't quite right. After about 2 and a half hours the lady came to take me off the monitor but as she was just about to take me off the machine it started beeping and flashing. She ran out the room and got a wheelchair and told me she had to get me up to the labour ward immediately. I was a nervous wreck, shaking, crying. I couldn't breathe properly as I was so worried and upset. She was rushing around which made me worse. When we got up to the labour ward the midwives had a machine ready to get me hooked up and his heart rate was back to normal, thank god. I didn't realise I was in labour until I was up on the labour ward, and the machine up there told them I was contracting every three mins. I couldn't believe I was contracting already, it wasn't that bad really. I bounced on my gym ball loads. 

When I was checked to see how many cm I was dilated I was three. I was well proud of myself for getting that far and I was quite over whelmed that I was even in labour really. I hadn't thought about it at all. So I didn't know what to expect, I think that's the best way though. They broke my waters for me, my waters were literally just meconium. He was obviously distressed the poor thing. His heart rate dipped quite a few times so he didn't like the contractions and couldn't cope that well. Due to Alfie's heart rate going dangerously low and back up again they decided they would need to test that he was getting enough oxygen by pricking his head to get some blood. I let them do it but I didn't like the idea of someone hurting my child, I decided then that I wanted my child out. After the doctor had finished messing around down there, trying to get blood from him, they gave me gas and air. They checked to see how much dilated I was and I was 7cm and was getting very upset with the pain. I don't think it was the actual pain that made me upset, it was the fact that I was scared about my baby. I was sick, labour isn't glamorous! The pain was worsening so they checked how much I was dilated and I had gone down to 6cm, my blood pressure was getting dangerously low and again Alfie's heart rate went down. A midwife slammed an emergency button and loads of people came flooding in, reading my notes. I was shaking really bad, and I was crying hysterically. I remember saying 'am I going to die' not because of pain because of my blood pressure.. I didn't feel right, I was making myself worse. 

One of the doctors said to me, would you be willing to have a c-section, I just said yes get him out. So they did it. Gave me the drug that made me numb and gave my boyfriend scrubs to put on. Everyone was around me trying to get me ready, i was getting so stressed. They gave me another drug to numb me and then got me wheeled down to surgery. I remember being pushed down to the treatment room in my bed, getting banged into doors and walls because they were rushing so much to get me to the room to get started. The room was freezing and they had the radio on, I tried to listen to the music but I couldn't I kept crying, my boyfriend sat near me holding my hand and kissing my head. He was my rock. They got started, I felt pushing and pulling all of a sudden my baby was in view. He wasn't crying though, he choked. I kept asking my boyfriend if he was ok, my boyfriend managed to say yeah course he is, through his tears. I told my boyfriend to go over to see him seeing as though I couldn't myself. He cut the cord and had a cuddle. He bought him over but I don't remember his face or anything. I don't think I gave him a kiss as I was scared of moving. All the midwives and nurses were telling me he was gorgeous and a big boy but I don't think I actually knew what they were saying. They stitched me all up and took me back to my room& gave me my son. I couldn't believe he was mine, he lived inside me for 9 months and now all of a sudden he was in my arms. He was and is gorgeous and I'm a very proud mummy!

Emma x