A New Chapter

Hello September! The start of a brand new month. Only this time, it marks my last month of maternity leave, and the start of a new chapter.

In a few weeks, Alice will be starting nursery. While i’m excited for her, it’s a bittersweet time for me. I know she will love nursery. She really enjoys being around other children, and she is such a confident, happy little girl so she will thrive. I’ll miss her so much though. For the past nine months, it’s been me and her all day everyday. And i’ve loved every minute of it!

It’s not just Alice starting somewhere new. I made the decision to hand in my notice at work so i’d have more time to spend with Alice. In my new role, i’ll be working Mondays to Wednesdays while she’s in nursery, then we’ll have four whole days together again.

I know i’m lucky. I never wanted to put her in nursery full time. We didn’t struggle for all that time to conceive, just so we’d only see her properly at weekends. Nursery is costly but that works in our favour. It means that working part time will leave us in the same financial position, with the added bonus that I get to still spend quality time with Alice.

I’ve had a brilliant time on maternity leave. It’s been such a special, amazing, life-changing experience. So much so, it’s incredibly difficult to sum it up in just a few words.

So as my maternity leave comes to an end, i’m doing my best to make the most of these last few weeks just me and her. 

I’m excited to see what the future holds but i’d like to end this post looking back on some of my favourite memories of maternity leave.

  • Alice’s birth

    • Playdates with Izzie and Theo

      • Alice’s first Christmas

        • Baby Yoga
        • Swimming

            • Meet-ups with the Early Days crowd
            • Alice’s Christening

              • Baby Sensory

                • Alice’s first holiday

                  • Alice’s first trip to the seaside

                    • Chester Zoo

                      • Mondays with Nanny

                        • Watching Alice conquer her developmental milestones

                          Here’s to many more with my favourite little person! 

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                          Last Few Weeks Of Being Pregnant…

                          Plenty happened in those final few weeks before Alice was born.

                          Greg and I attended Parentcraft classes, giving us the chance to meet other expectant parents in our area.

                          There were four sessions overall, covering everything from what to expect during labour, what might go wrong, pain relief options, and baby feeding.

                          Some sessions were helpful and others less so. It was at these sessions we met Izzie and Sean, who were expecting little Theo just two days after Alice’s due date.

                          Once we began our maternity leave, Izzie and I met up a few times. We tried an Aquanatal class but found it a bit odd. So we stuck to cake instead, sharing our fears and excitement about our impending labours. And we’re still meeting up to this day, only this time with both babes too!

                          I still had a few antenatal appointments with my midwife, Annie. I wrote my birth plan with her help. I knew that every labour was different and that it was all too common for your birth plan to go out of the window.

                          Despite this, I planned to have a water birth in Stepping Hill’s Birth Centre.

                          Having completed a tour of the hospital a few weeks earlier, there was no way I wanted to give birth in a delivery room. They seemed sterile and cold in contrast to the spa-like calmness of the rooms in the Birth Centre.

                          As for pain relief, I was open to options but prepared to go as far as I could on gas and air. I’d read up about epidurals and one of them was the last thing I wanted.

                          Given the choice, I wanted to have a natural birth, with as little medical intervention as possible.

                          Yes it would be painful, but I wanted to see what my body was capable of.

                          My birth plan was signed off. I was healthy, baby was healthy, and as long as nothing major happened in the meantime, it looked probable that my labour would take place in the Birth Centre.

                          Then I hit the 36 week mark and things changed slightly.

                          I went to my antenatal appointment as usual, handing over my urine sample for testing. This time though, there were traces of protein which can be a sign of pre-eclampsia.

                          What’s more, when Annie felt my stomach, she told me she thought Alice had gone breech. After weeks of being head down, this was the last thing I needed to hear.

                          She made me an appointment for an ultrasound scan the next day at the hospital and told me if her fears were confirmed, I’d be booked in for a caesarean section.

                          I knew it wasn’t the end of the world if I did have pre-eclampsia or if Alice was breech, but at the time it felt like everything was going wrong.

                          However, the scan confirmed Alice was still head down and healthy. A second urine sample showed no signs of protein and all was well again.

                          I breathed a sigh of relief and went back to enjoying my pregnancy.

                          Over the next few weeks I had several signs that labour was close, feeling powerful contractions over and over again.

                          They were all false starts though and before I knew it, my due date came and went and Alice still hadn’t made an appearance.

                          It wasn’t until my 39th week that I started to get impatient. Where was she? I’d gone all through pregnancy convinced she was going to arrive early.

                          I’d had our hospital bags packed and ready by week 32, I’d finished work, I’d cleaned the house from top to bottom everyday for the past few weeks.

                          I’d had a membrane sweep on my due date and gone home with a little spring in my step, certain that I’d go into labour that night.

                          Nothing happened. I tried eating curry, several times, to kick-start labour. Nothing apart from some painful Braxton Hicks. Pineapple? Still nothing. There’s a whole list of things to try which are supposed to speed labour along, and we tried them all.

                          My bump was getting bigger by the day, I was barely sleeping, getting up to go to the toilet every 15 minutes, and just generally feeling uncomfortable.

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                          I was getting texts and phone calls daily asking if I’d given birth yet. Every time I ventured out of the house, strangers would ask how long I had left, then look at me in panic when I told them I was already overdue.

                          Eventually we realised we were just going to have to wait. Alice would come in her own time, when she was ready.

                          And eight days later, at 41 weeks and one day, she was born.

                          Let’s Start At The Very Beginning

                          Hi, I’m Abi and this is my daughter, Alice.

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                          I’m currently on maternity leave after giving birth in November 2016.

                          I’ve met some lovely fellow Mummies along the way. Some are first-timers like me, and others are already a dab hand.

                          I’ve always loved babies and children, and I knew I definitely wanted to be a Mum.

                          Despite already knowing my fair share about babies, nothing really prepares you for that day your baby arrives.

                          Alice has completely changed my life, and my husband Greg’s life for the better. We can’t even remember what we used to do before she came along.

                          Everyone says that time flies. They’re right! I’m now halfway through my maternity leave which seems insane. It was only a few months ago I was entering my last few weeks of pregnancy.

                          Babies change everyday and they are constantly learning and developing. That’s why I’ve decided to blog about Alice.

                          I don’t want to forget a single moment, and when she changes so quickly and so often, that can be difficult.

                          So while this blog is primarily a record for me, I’m also hoping other Mummies will relate to it.

                          Here goes nothing!