Away in a Manger

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Just a quick note as I’m off on my epic camp tomorrow, carrying a pack that’s roughly 5 times the weight of a newborn baby. So if I have quins, on my back (getting weirder by the second), and decide to climb a mountain, this will be great practice. Parenthood may be its own kind of Everest, but until that day comes, this is mine. See you Saturday!

Jane xx

Maintaining calm in the labour ward

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Obviously not in any pain at all…

I’ve been watching more One Born Every Minute. I love YouTube! I’ve just started Season 3, and with each new episode I get weepier. Usually when the new Dad cries. Then I bawl. However, what I’ve been noticing with each story is the mindset of the women in labour.

Let me preface this with a great big “I KNOW”: regardless of how you think you’ll be when giving birth, you have no idea until you’re in it. I know. But I think the level of calm plays an enormous role, not only in the actual birth, but in the lead up and in the general demeanour of the room.

Watching these women, for some of them the fear just kicks in from the first contraction. Whether it’s the unknown, or just the level of pain, the women who are panicking at the start seem to be far more likely to be those who are having a rough time for the delivery. Now I’m not necessary talking about any of the specific trends: hypnobirhing, affirmations or any of that. The women who cope the best are the calm ones. They maintain focus, concentrate on their breathing, and have a great support person with them, whether it be their partner or family member. Some of the men are just fantastic. While the man in the delivery room is often described as feeling hopeless or disconnected, those who become their partner’s personal coach/cheer squad seem to be the ones who are right in the thick of it, and play a vital part in the mother’s wellbeing and ability to get through the pain.

I’m hoping that I am able to emulate the calm women I’ve watched, allow myself to follow my body’s messages and let my instinct take over, without getting too stressed about things being out of my control. Having a birth plan is obviously a good idea to describe the ideal scenario, but also being realistic about the fact that things may not go to plan is also important to remember. This all sounds quite preachy and all knowing, however I’m hoping I return to this post in 10 or so months to remind myself of my infinite wisdom (read: ideas gleaned from watching reality TV).

In the meantime, I’m going to watch more One Born, and adjust my level of hand-over-mouth and sinking under the covers according to the volume of their shrieks.

Jane xx

Fashion Friday

Happy Friday!

I thought, as a jaunty new addition to the blog, Fridays could be carefree and full of nice things. Most of which I can’t afford, but hey! It’s Friday! Don’t worry about it! As a result, I am hoping to create a blog post each Friday on some examples of fashion, whether it be pre or post maternity, or more toward the child sized variety. Happy inaugural Fashion Friday! Today I thought I would keep it topical and at least vaguely close to my current stage of pregnancy (i.e. stage zero. Or possible -1), and show some styles I’ve recently found for Autumn (or Fall – hello from across the pond!). Let’s have a look!

So Frenchy, so chic

So Frenchy, so chic

Love this. LOVE it. Stripes are so a staple of my wardrobe, I may as well be some sort of African animal (except I hate animal print. So maybe not). This woman is obviously ridiculously slim for a pregnant woman, and I am likely to look far less like the fashionable sailor, and more like the adjacent sea animal. There’s also something about her expression. Something just a tiny bit “Fuck you” about the set of her jaw, which I just love. Who says women need to be all soft and lace covered in pregnancy? Be fierce (thanks Tyra), be fucking unapologetic. Did I mention I’ve had wine tonight? Hence the sweariness. You’re welcome.

Right. Next lovely outfit:

A little more wintery, but still gorgeous

A little more wintery, but still gorgeous

There’s something so classy, and classic about neutrals. Don’t get me wrong, I love a neon pop here and there, but I’ve never really suited the bright colour thing. It may be a little boring/beige of me, but neutrals call to me. And those boots are just yum. Not a fan of the bag, and it would help to see this outfit on a person, rather than a murderer’s arrangement of limbs, but otherwise, a lovely concoction!

Last but not least (it also has stripes), is the green number below:

More stripes, but can you blame me?

More stripes, but can you blame me?

Again, BOOTS. Otherwise, quite neutral with that lovely green. What would you call that green? It’s not quite emerald, it’s not grass, it’s…M&M green, right? Even more yum. Gorgeous layering, sensible levels of warm, and the high waist just sets off the curve of her figure. Lovely!

On this self indulgent and quite materialistic note, I will leave you to an excellent Friday, and hopefully an even better weekend. Get out and enjoy the crisp air and sunshine.

Jane xx

Preconception Doctor’s Appointment

The raunchiest image I could find for "preconception"...

Preconception. Like, JUST prior…

I was at the doctor’s today to follow up on my “preconception check-up” so recommended by various baby books. To be honest, at my first appointment the Doc seemed rather surprised at my organisation. I suppose in my area, there’s perhaps not as much planning in falling pregnant. To be fair, I believe most people start reading baby books when they are actually pregnant, so I can see where his surprise was coming from.

Anyhoo. He asked me the general questions – do you smoke (like a CHIMNEY! No.); How often do you drink alcohol (a small sherry at Christmas, Doc…ha!); history of illness (ummm, don’t YOU know that, family GP?) and so on. Then he stuck a needle in me to check for general health and immunities to the many, many diseases that could be a massive problem in pregnancy. So of course, I get a phone call a few days later from the nurse at the doctors’ surgery:

Nurse: Hello, is that Ms Nester?

Me: Depends, who’s calling?

N: It’s blah blah from the doctor’s office, just calling you about your blood test results.

M: It’s AIDS, isn’t it? Cancer? Imminent death of some sort?

N: The doctor would like you to come in to discuss your results

M: Definitely death then. Lovely! How’s Tuesday?

Don’t you love that? I mean, I know they’re not allowed to say on the phone, but seriously, just cough and say “NOT AIDS” at the same time. Cut a girl a break! For the last week, of course, I’ve been morbidly fantasising about what hideous disease I will have, and thinking of my elegant and noteworthy last words (you know, before I cark it and soil myself. Classy!). Today was the day I found out what the Doc NEEDED to call me in for, and….(drum roll)…

It was low iron. DRAMA! So now I need to take some iron tablets, but otherwise, I’m free to get nice and knocked up. Hurray for me! My famous last words will have to wait, and I’m sure my heart rate will return to normal in, oooh, a week or so.

So this is good! We’re on track. I’m roughly 3 weeks into taking pregnancy multis, and I’m hoping to take them for a good 3 months prior to trying, just to make sure all bases are covered (pedantic? Moi? Never!).

Yours in disease-free bliss,

Jane xx

Oscars 2014 Maternity Fashion

Morning! I thought since it’s a public holiday here, I would extend the holiday vibe to you all, and have a look at the recent Oscars maternity fashion. The reality of the situation is that I will never look as good as these women, pregnant or no. However, it’s refreshing to see a natural body shape on the red carpet, and the glow of health as opposed to the manufactured glow of makeup over emaciated bodies.

The pregnant stars this year were Olivia Wilde (one of my girls crushes, made even more so by the fact she’s with the gorgeous Jason Sudeikis), Kerry Washington who has been looking stunning throughout the awards season, Elsa Pataky (Thor’s missus), and Kristin Cavallari (from a number of reality shows, most recently Laguna Beach). Let’s take a look!

Firstly, Kristen. Apologies for the quality of the image here, this was the best I could find that illustrates the bump!

I think this is gorgeous, if a little crinkled. The white is stunning with the metallic shoulder contrast, and the fit is snug while still forgiving, showing Kristen’s gorgeous figure. A little ironing and I think we would have had a winner!

Elsa Pataky was very heavily pregnant for this year’s Oscars:

She unfortunately copped a lot of flak for this outfit – personally, I think the colour is gorgeous, and her hair and makeup is divine. I think perhaps a little more definition between bump and bust would have given her more shape, but that’s absolutely no excuse to refer to her bump as a beer belly – Joan Rivers should be ashamed of herself. Kudos to Elsa for even showing up at the Oscars with the energy it must have taken! I’d be on the couch stuffing popcorn into my face. Oh wait, I was!

Third on the list of pregnant celebs is Kerry Washington, who again took some criticism for her outfit:

Personally, I think the colour is stunning, the line of the dress is simple, but flattering. The design was accused of being too simple, like a bed sheet, and I think the crinkles don’t help here. But really, how gorgeous does she look? If I looked like that in a bed sheet, that’s all I’d ever wear! Love the pin in the centre as well.

Last but certainly not least is Olivia Wilde:

I loooooove this! When I first saw it I thought it was all black (the entire front is black, and high necked), but the white detail on the back just sets it off. It reminds me a lot of Julia Roberts’ dress when she won the Oscar in back in 2001:

Don’t you think? So elegant!

I’m thinking I might just get into the plastic surgery before pregnancy, so I can look like Olivia throughout. Good idea? Yesssss.

Yours in delusion,

Jane xx

Modern Cloth Nappy Musings

Happy weekend! As you can see, I’ve had a day or two off. Apologies! I have no excuses, except for the fact that it’s the weekend, so I’ve been doing weekend things, like sleeping, eating, and googling crazily. My current obsession is modern cloth nappies. I’m sure I will look back on this post and laugh, and many of you are probably doing right now. I am coming from zero experience with nappy changing, and I’m still a little shell shocked at the idea of changing a newborn’s nappy up to 10 times a day. That’s a LOT of…stuff.

So anyway, modern cloth nappies (or MCNs). Aren’t there a LOT of them?? The choice is a little daunting. The types I have found so far are:

  • All in ones (AIO) – your typical disposable style MCN. One nappy, everything’s attached, you wash the whole thing in one go.
  • All in twos (AI2) – similar to AIO nappies, but with an inner liner that snaps into place. This gives you the ability to adjust which liner you use, based on your baby’s, erm, output. Can also be referred to as a pocket nappy (some have an opening to slide in the liner, instead of snapping in). These also have the benefit of only having to wash the liner, not the whole nappy.
  • Prefold – as far as I can see, these are old school cloth nappies sewn into the correct shape.
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The BumGenius AIO

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The Grovia Hybrid (an AI2)

Then you have additional options (as if all these acronyms weren’t enough!). There are snaps or velcro connections, organic or not, and a bunch of different materials suited to different types of absorbencies (wool, bamboo, cotton…). Lost yet? Me too!

Then of course there are the brands. I’m not going to name them all, because honestly there are far too many to keep track of. The two I’ve been looking at the most, mainly due to their general popularity and positive online reviews, are BumGenius and Grovia (both shown above).

My thought process for heading towards MCNs is mainly to do with environmental impact. Although many of the larger disposable nappy companies will tell you the energy consumption of washing MCNs creates a comparable eco footprint, their calculations are based on washing every day, and using a dryer for every load. Also, there is the little known point that even disposable nappies should be “scraped” of any waste prior to being binned. Which of course doesn’t happen. I like to think I’m a fairly eco-friendly person, and this route just makes sense. Even though I know there will be extra work, I think my peace of mind would be worth the effort. So, let’s have a look at the pros and cons:

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Cost savings (average investment in MCNs is around $300, disposables add up to around $3000-$5000 from newborn to toilet trained).
  • Sizing – more on this below, but the nappies are adjustable, so they should fit from about 8 weeks, all the way to toilet training. One investment = a lot of savings over the years.
  • Apparently improved resistance to nappy rash and the poetically named “blowouts”, due to better fit and natural materials
  • the colours! So cute – my inner stylist (often missing from my life) claps her hands together in delight with the range of solid colours and prints, like these:
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Just. Gorgeous! It almost makes me want to lose my own continence. Almost.

Now for the not so great elements:

Cons

  • Extra time/effort in washing. Obviously this is the big one, and what turns people off. I’m hoping I can get through the initial stretch and into a routine.
  • The ick factor – having to scrape or hose off the unmentionables into the toilet is not going to be my favourite part of the day, but that said I’ve been told to prepare myself for a much closer relationship with bodily functions, so I’m guessing I’ll be up to my elbows anyway
  • Sizing – most MCNs will be labelled “one size fits most”, meaning that they won’t fit newborns, unless you buy a specific newborn nappy. But you’re not going to want to pay all that money to then have to replace them with a larger size.

So that’s my (not at all exhaustive) list. In regards to the cons, with the first two I think they’re more a matter of getting into the right mindset, and establishing a routine. With the third point, my incessant googling has led me to a fantastic service called a Nappy Library. I’ve found these in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane (here or here, here and here respectively), where for around $20-$25 a week you can hire newborn MCNs until your baby fits into the regular sized ones. They also have full size hire packs, to try out a range of brands to see what suits best. I think that’s a pretty fantastic service, and I’ll be getting into them just as soon as I actually fall pregnant!

On that rather long post, I will leave you on this fine Sunday afternoon. I hope I’ve given a decent description, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on these, or if anyone else has had experience of these. Special thanks to Young House Love and their excellent post here on their experience with MCNs.

Jane xx

Exercising & pregnancy

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I undertook my monthly visit to the gym today, part of my regular exercise schedule. See I love nothing more than to get all enthused, go crazy on every machine and piece of equipment possible, feel elated, and then wake up the next morning unable to move. This then leads to days of wincing when walking, climbing stairs, breathing. So I swear off such a ridiculous idea. Until the mood strikes me again, about a month later. Regular, thoughtfully planned exercise. It’s my jam.

The main reason for the exercise is a camping trip in a few weeks, where I’ll be climbing ridiculous mountains in the Bill Bryson Walk in the Woods kind of way. The deep sniff, the “I’ve shit in the woods” club, you know the gist. I only wish I could take Stephen Katz with me. So tonight I decided that a long, fast walk on a near vertical treadmill would be a top idea. I’ll let you know the levels of agony tomorrow.

In trying to wheedle this around to baby/parenting/pregnancy talk, exercise has been on my mind a lot lately. My crazed on-again, off-again-off-again-off-again relationship with working out is not exactly in line with the “regular, medium paced, health inducing” recommendations of the baby books. In short, I’m slightly up shit creek on the “get into the habit of regular exercise” stuff. I know how important it is to eat well, and to get regular exercise, but when it comes down to an hour of falling into a heap on the couch, or of running to nowhere on a soggy treadmill, I choose coouuuuuch! I can’t handle gyms. I can’t deal with being my sweaty, panting, staggering self next to people who are either so buff they’re having trouble raising their arms, or so beautiful the only sign of exertion on their 10km sprint is an attractive beading of sweat on their forehead, most probably perfectly forming the outline of a rose. Bastards.

This all makes me sound rather a lot like I need to be craned in and out of my house. Not the case, I promise. I have a health BMI, eat well, and as a teacher get a high level of incidental exercise. I just hate the planned crap. I think it’s going to be my hardest goal to attain in getting my body in peak condition for baby growing. But who knows? Maybe I love Zumba (erghhhh) and just don’t know it yet.

Yours in slothfulness,

Jane xx