Maternity clothes that make you feel beautiful!

Gracey and Oana’s presents ready to go

Pregnancy is a time for healthy eating not necessarily ‘for two’ but for making sure you get a good variety of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. As I have such a healthy appetite this has never been a problem for me and during my first two pregnancies I was in Italy being fed by my mother in law making sure I was strong and the baby would be born healthy.

Oh the attention she poured on me; she left her son’s favourite meals aside for that period just to cater to mine! My boy was to be her first grandson and after losing her husband only a couple of years earlier, this new arrival had given her reason to live again and who was I to disagree? Krauti e luganeghe, salsicce in sugo and spezzatino con polenta, I drool at the thought alone.

Naturally all this excellent food piled on my plate which I obviously ate (the lot) soon enough had me feeling BIG and consequently ugly. Used to a slim size 8 before my first pregnancy back in 1987 as my waistline thickened and my feet disappeared from view the more I panicked. Remember I was only 21 and away from my family. I was incredibly insecure about myself and about the future I was heading towards – I had never even baby sat for newborns how I was to cope with one of my own was completely beyond me then.

With the whole hotel being renovated and not much money coming into the family purse I was very conscious of not spending too much money and consequently I held back on the maternity clothes which only made my feeling get worse. Therefore I am very aware of how pretty clothes can change your frame of mind, the time my ex took me to buy a new maternity dress was enough to lift my heart into a completely new dimension and make me feel alive again. I don’t think we should underestimate the effect good clothes have on us.

Now my thoughts turn to my ‘daughter-in-law’ Oana, herself only 21 and also used to being a slim size 8 she’s now going through that period where her body is changing rapidly and for however happy she is that her son (my grandson!) is healthy and growing perfectly she can’t help but worry about her figure so when Vertbaudet asked me to review some maternity clothes for them I jumped at the chance as it meant I could send a beautiful Christmas present for  Oana that would not only delight her when she opened it  – they have the most beautiful collection but would lift her spirits over the Christmas season and beyond.

Now I’m sure you agree it would be foolish of me to post a photo of the items that came through for Oana as that would ruin her surprise (she reads my blog!) so here’s a photo of her wrapped up present and you’ll have to take my word on how gorgeous they are but take a look at the selection below and see if you can guess what I ordered for her. Happy Christmas Oana – Santa is on his way with something special from Vertbaudet for you from me, Paul, Alice and Bessie xxx

Pregnancy – looking for information?

I have four children and I have been pregnant seven times, my first pregnancies were back in the late 80’s and there was no internet in homes back then my only font of knowledge was from a book, a Dr Miriam Stoppard book. That was my bible throughout both gestations. I was excited and wanted to know more. In fact, one book wasn’t enough for me and by the time I lived back in the UK and was expecting twins in 2oo8 I had four books and a number of websites at hand with forums where I could go and talk to other women in the same position, who would ‘understand’ what I was feeling and be able to reply accordingly.

From the moment you discover you’re pregnant you step into a world of The Unknown, everything that is about to happen to you will be new and although many women go through a similar experience no two pregnancies are ever the same. Even mothers with handfuls of pregnancies behind them say each pregnancy was different to the last.

It can be quite daunting and this very fact can actually add a notion of fear of what lies ahead. As if there wasn’t enough to worry about!

With the majority of us being on various social media networks today we have a lot of information at our fingertips and as we all know the internet can be a frightening place in the search for information; you can come across some very scary sites and that slight tummy twinge you felt earlier all of a sudden gets blown totally out of proportion leading to panic.

That’s why sites like Pregnancy.co.uk are so helpful. Home grown and complete, from trying to conceive through to labour and beyond this site welcomes you in and puts your mind at ease from the word go. An ovulation calendar for those who want to find the most significant moment to go for it and a week by week account of every change in the baby, pregnancy symptoms, feelings, emotions and facts.

There are forums to join where you can meet people and swap notes. I still have friends I made in my forums many moons ago and maybe we’re not chatting as much as we were back then but we’re still in touch with Facebook comments which is so lovely.

If you’ve stumbled upon my blog via a Twin Pregnancy search then you may be pleased to know I’m getting my twin pregnancy diary together with information as I lived it and turning it into a downloadable E-book but in the meantime here’s my twin c-section birth story and here are my twin pregnancy books I read last time round and if you’re looking for a forum to join to put your mind at ease whilst being pregnant then hop over to pregnancy.co.uk

Uh-oh, I’m pregnant!

Sicily - 1987Pregnant me? Not now, heavens no, did you forget it’s Flashback Friday? Did that title just grab you and you clicked before thinking? :D

Ok, it was a bit cheeky of me, I admit I couldn’t resist it but I am flashing back to 1987 because it was summer time when I first discovered I had missed a period or two and that thought back then wasn’t good, in fact it was downright frightening.

How? Why me? What am I going to do? Hundreds of questions whirling around in my mind on repeat.

I had been with my now ex husband for just over  a year and although everything was going swimmingly well there had been no discussions of the future, commitment, or marriages and children. Our minds were on the present, live for the moment and enjoy to the max this newfound freedom having just left home and stepped into adulthood. I was 21 and had a whole life in front of me to discover. I wasn’t planning on kids till I was at least 27 (I think that was the number I had chosen as ideal family making age)

As I was miles away from my own family I felt quite isolated and the thought ‘She’ll kill me when she finds out.’ was also a constant. ‘She’ being mum and no she wouldn’t have killed me to be honest but that’s just one of your many fears when you find yourself in such a situation, the knowledge that your family will be disappointed. They wanted so much more for you, more than they had themselves.

After long talks ex-husband and I decided we would terminate. We weren’t ready, we were too young, we had no house or money and so on. Lots of very valid excuses but in order to do that we had to go to a gynaecologist to ascertain it was a pregnancy in order to go ahead with any termination and this was the part that let us down. The moment we saw the heartbeat on screen and could see the fuzzy outline of a head, tummy, arms and legs we were hooked. It also didn’t help that we were in Italy, a very religious country where family is held at the top of everyone’s priority list. He sent us away with a book, a due date, a happy feeling and a clear message to think very carefully about what we were going to do.

He’d done his work well, a few days later with an appointment at a day hospital already booked for a termination my ex surprised me with a change of heart and in two minutes flat we had decided to go along with the pregnancy.

My life changed in those two minutes. It did a handbreak turn at 180mph and I can still smell the rubber.

What about now? Looking back 24 years later I wish I had continued with our initial idea to terminate but maybe that’s because I would have saved myself such heartache, bitterness and upset? Looking back now I can see that we were not suited to each other, my ex and I that is. I can also compare the difference of finding yourself with a family when you weren’t looking for one and trying for a family as a loving couple who want to have children. Two entirely different situations that have such an enormous impact on how futures will roll out that they need to be underlined and young people out there having to make that difficult decision need to know the difference and the consequences that are possible.

We all love a beautiful bonny baby and a loving couple as parents, it brings us joy but we also want those children to grow up in happy environments and not have to suffer the pain of watching their parents divorce like my two children did.

It’s a very tricky and difficult subject to touch on, it encompasses, religious views, cultural standards and personal morals but I look at the girls who back in ’87 went ahead and had the child now a good majority of us are divorced. Surely there must be a message here?

For plenty more light hearted flashbacks please head over to Karin at Cafe Bebe and sorry for fooling you, I’m done with babies :)

Have a great weekend xx

You’re expecting twins!

My tears had halted momentarily, had I heard right? Was she saying that to me? I looked over at Paul who was still holding my hand as tightly, I could see the excitement, disbelief, incredulity under his skin, his face was twitching ever so slightly and he looked as if he was about to boil over with joy.

*****

As I lay down on the bed and lifted my top exposing my bare tummy to the scanologist (sorry can’t think of the right name for the lady scanner!) I went into panic mode. I was 8 weeks pregnant and the last two times I had reached this stage I had then discovered they were blighted ovums, where the baby had never formed in the sac or had been reabsorbed early on and therefore ending in miscarriage. I was shaking, in my heart I knew this was our last attempt. There was no way I could keep on putting myself through the agony of  joy-hope-failure. The scanning room for me held bad memories and I wasn’t feeling comfortable. In a desperate attempt to reassure myself, I surrepstitiously squeezed my boobs ‘Ouch!’ Good they were still painful and that meant pregnancy hormones were still in my body. I told the woman my history, a devastating loss at 5 months when we lost our little girl followed by two blighted ovums.

‘Thank you for telling me that.’ I’m sure I detected an Australian accent and then the room fell silent as she started to move the contraption over the gel on my tummy, the air heavy around me with suspense. Paul’s breathing was faster and our hands were held in a tight grip. I couldn’t bare him to go through the disappointment again and I was alreadystarting to feel a failure, my heart bomb diving into a black abyss. May Day! May Day!

I watched the lady looking intent at the screen moving the scan back and forth across my midriff. My bad voice piped up matter of factly ‘Nothing there again.’ and the tears started. Very slowly, very silently and I gripped Paul’s hand even harder trying desperately to make everything ok and hold on to positivity.

‘I’m so sorry to keep you waiting,’ she said. ‘I was just checking there aren’t three in there!’

‘Three?’ (I know! I’m so slow to get stuff – it had never dawned on me that I could possibly be a mother of twins even if Paul is a twin, I’d only ever asked for one!)

‘Yes!’ she exclaimed gleefully, relieved herself that her news was so good for us.’You’re expecting twins.’

‘How are their heartbeats?’ I immediately went into concerned mode wanting to cross all the T’s and dot the i’s.

‘Wonderfully strong heartbeats.’ Everything looks to be absolutely perfect.’

‘Can’t be!’ – that was the bad voice picking up again trying to ruin the moment but I was so shocked and utterly stunned I took no notice of it for once focusing on the good TWO WONDERFULLY STRONG HEARTBEATS. More tears fell but this time they were warm and tears of joy, the lady handed me some paper to wipe away the gel put I couldn’t care less about the gel I was pregnant and what’s more I was expecting twins, Paul took the paper and cleaned my tummy for me as we waited for the print out and our photos.

She gave us more photos than she should have done for our £4.00, I imagine she was very relieved to have been able to pass on our wonderful news and felt generous, after all who would find out her crime? I certainly wouldn’t have told a soul and these images I treasured for the following 8 months whilst I waited in angst until my beautiful little girls entered the world safe and sound.

This is my Flashback Friday for this week inspired very much by Karin at Cafe Bebe who is expecting and asked when I first found out I was expecting twins. Many women in pregnancy often get a thought ‘Maybe it’s twins?’ during the first months until the first scan can verify who and how many are inside. That thought comes from no where. Thrown at you casually from the universe to leave you wondering for weeks. I did get one of those thoughts but I was so anxious and so focused on just having ONE healthy baby I ignored it and let it go so it was a massive surprise that day to be told. In fact that day we both walked around stunned. Even the following few nights I would wake in the early hours and just ask Two? and reply Two! and fall back to sleep again in disbelief.

I kept a dairy throughout that pregnancy it was an online diary which also talks of many other things happening in my life during that period (teenage daughter living at home anyone?) I’m currently going through it and making it readable and focusing on the twin pregnancy and then I will post it for any other pregnant mum who may want to read it.

Now head over and see all the other Flashbacks over at Cafe Bebe

Introducing Babu, a modern approach to antenatal classes

Once upon a time there was a ladette who could drink like the best of them and was a serial dater who could put Brigette Jones to shame until the day she met her soul mate and fell in love. The raucous party girl was instantly transformed, well ok it took some time but as their love grew and deepened so her thirst for ‘living it up’ died a quiet death. She woke up one morning and thought ‘That’s strange, I haven’t had a period!’ Further investigations proved that our once ladette was now expecting her first child and a few months later she walked down the aisle to wed her fella in a specially expanded wedding dress, you had to be there!

Strangely enough our ex ladette who hadn’t batted an eyelid at partying till dawn, dancing on tables and pushing her career forward, forward, forward was suddenly terrified at the prospect of motherhood and labour!!! The studious and career minded side of her urged her to go on a course and she listened to those voices (at long last) and signed up. Every single lesson was attended, cups of tea were drunk with fellow ladies in waiting, rich tea biscuits dunked and notes scribbled down, well actually there weren’t many notes at all. In fact our brand new Lady-in-waiting was horrifed, astounded and utterly disgusted that for something as life changing and significant as childbirth the course should offer so little. She told me her course was ‘Unprofessional, biased, censored and stuck in the seventies!’ which just ab out sums up her entire thoughts of her antenatal classes doesn’t it?

Realising it may just be her with these thoughts she decided to investigate further and online forums soon proved that many women up and down the country were having similar experiences and were left equally unhappy at their preparation for childbirth and motherhood. Hence the birth of Babu – Birth and baby uncovered (always one to dream up a catchy name, our ladette lady)

“At Babu, we offer a modern approach to traditional antenatal classes. Our vision is for expectant parents to have access to exceptional quality and diversity of antenatal and postnatal education. We provide guidance for optimum health during pregnancy, confidence during labour and importantly, assurance during early parenting when it’s most needed and often lacking. Courses are originated and presented by qualified professionals, who are experts in their chosen fields. The BABU Childbirth Preparation Course is held over a weekend and is a carefully balanced combination of ante and post-natal content and also includes a half-day post-natal session to help you adapt to life with your new baby. Classes are designed to be small, allowing parents to get to know each other over the weekend.Our workshops cover important areas such as Nutrition for You &Your Baby, Homeopathy in Pregnancy & Childbirth, Infant Emergency Life Support & First Aid and Sleep Training.” Please visit our website www.babu.co.uk or email info@babu.co.uk

The first courses are due to go live in June in Chislehurst & Bromley in Kent but plans are big. She is hoping if they prove to be successful to extend this nationwide.

So here’s my request, if you are on Twitter, please follow her @babucourses if you are on Facebook we’d kindly ask you to ‘like’ her Babu page and if you are local then please spread the word as we all know there is nothing better than word of mouth