Thursday, 24 July 2014

Busy times

by Bex

I was planning on making this week on the blog baby free after last week's baby overload!  As it happens, I've just been too busy to write anything and then when we got a fright on Wednesday, it was one of those things I just had to write about at the time.

Today is just as busy but I'm taking a few minutes to watch the end of last night's opening ceremony (as I had to go to bed and apparently missed the best bits, although the fireworks did wake me up - crikey!) so I have time to write a wee update as I'm excited about lots of things at the moment!  I now have only 3 weeks left at work before I go on annual leave (not my choice but it's working out well anyway as I am finding I'm getting more and more pain from working as well as being extra tired) prior to starting maternity leave in September at the earliest possible time.  It's then only 2 more weeks until we get the new house!  It's all happening so fast!!

Until then, my time is filling up pretty fast too.  This weekend we are heading down to the lake district for Nik's brother's 30th birthday celebrations.  As our Christmas gift for last year, my in-laws have paid for us all to stay and dine at L'Enclume in Cartmel, so exciting!  (And I am SO GLAD I have my normal appetite back and am finally able to eat a variety of things again.)  In preparation for this, while Nik sleeps off his last night shift, I will be getting the last facial I saved up from my wedding facial package followed by my first hair cut in 9 months.  My grey hairs have now almost reached bob length after I stopped colouring it 15 months ago (my hair grows pretty slowly) so I will be getting it trimmed right back to almost this level - basically as long as I can still tie it back so I don't have to worry about it when the babies arrive!  (Pics to follow, obviously!)

I'm also extremely excited that I have booked a bump photo shoot!  I always said how much I longed to be able to celebrate my bump in this way and record it in some beautiful photos.  Next week I am taking part in a shoot with the talented Lauren McGlynn.  Since meeting her at Blook Club last year, I've followed her on Twitter and seen all of the lovely weddings she has photographed so beautifully.  When asking Twitter who I should book with, she was the first to be recommended to me and I'm happy to say, we've got a date arranged to take some photos with Nik in the park where we got married!  I was always a little bit disappointed with the portraits of us in our park (my favourite is actually a screen grab from our wedding video) and I can't wait to have some beautiful photos of this next stage in our lives taken under those very same trees, hopefully in some beautiful light (please weather).  After everything, it certainly trumps our wedding day!

Image Source via Pinterest

Another photographer recommended to me was Louise Mallan.  As much as I would love multiple bump shoots while I'm feeling great and the bump is looking good, we just can't afford it at the moment.  With all the twin expenses, moving home and other outlays right now (why are all the car things always due at once?), cash is getting rather tight so I can't justify another shoot, even if it would give me a different selection of photos of another style.  Luckily for me however, Louise has offered to take some photos free of charge to expand her maternity portfolio in exchange for sharing them with you all here, which I am delighted to do!  We're meeting up tonight (which also means I can get some photos before all my hair is chopped off, I'm thinking top knot) and I can't wait!

Image Sources: Left and Right both via Pinterest

More of my fave maternity shots below:

Image sources: Left and Right both via Pinterest

Image Source via Pinterest

Another weekend I am looking forward to is in the middle of August, just after I finish work.  Nik will be back up for the weekend from his new job and we're arranging goodbye drinks with all of our friends up here (and anyone else who wishes to travel to join us) and on the same day we have booked a 3D/4D scan at 25 weeks (well 24+6).  I want to be able to do as many pregnancy related special things as possible to really make the most of this time.  Having wanted to be pregnant for so long, it's really so much fun to be able to book all these things and record as much of this time as possible.  The package we've booked includes 10-20 minutes of scanning, a 5-10 minute DVD movie of our babies, a CD of photos and a 6 A4 prints.  Not bad for £89 at Baby Scanning Glasgow.

I better go and carry on with all the admin and sorting I've to get through before I start making wardrobe choices for this evening!  Wish me luck ;)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The scary day

by Bex

I've had what felt like my most hormonal day today, bursting into tears at least 3 times!  I know everyone is probably watching the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow right now, (as am I, from the sofa) but if I don't write it now I'll forget things.  Even though I've been writing about all the good, exciting, fun things happening lately doesn't mean there isn't still that layer of worry, especially given the trials we had to get here.  I'm sure it's the same for all parents and I expect it will never end.

Basically I haven't felt baby girl kick since the night before last.  I usually only feel her in the evening, when I'm settled and quiet in bed whereas I often also feel baby boy throughout the day.  Initially I thought maybe she was just sleeping at different times and I wasn't feeling her during the day as I was busy but when I still wasn't feeling her by this afternoon I was getting a bit more worried.  Nik was up at lunchtime (he's currently on nights) and we tried jiggling and prodding her and he shouted and sang at her through my belly.  Still nothing and during my afternoon at work it was on my mind more and more so I rang maternity assessment just to see if they thought I should come and get checked or if I was just being ridiculous.  I know it's early but since I had been feeling so much more movement from them both lately I was increasingly concerned at the lack of movement on my left side.

I spoke to the midwife who was surprised I could differentiate between each twin's movements this early on but I explained that one is very clearly left and one on the right and the left had stopped.  She asked if I'd had any pain or bleeding and reassured me that this early on it is quite normal not to feel anything or for the baby to move position and be less noticeable.  She said I could come in and they could check for the heartbeat if I wanted to be sure.  I asked if I could go in tomorrow morning as I was at work and had patients booked in and she said that if I was worried I really should go in now and get it checked.  This instantly made me more concerned but I explained that I had my own emergency patients and no-one to cover today.  She said that I should think of my own health and that of my wee babies.  Cue tears.  I felt terrible!

She said they would leave it up to me but they are open 24 hours so I could go in after work this evening if I wanted but she seemed to think I should be heading straight there.  Up until then I hadn't been overly worried as I assumed I was being over-cautious and it was probably normal.  The more I thought about her words I became utterly upset so called Nik and woke him despite not being able to speak very well through sobs.  He said it's been a day and a half and another hour won't change anything so not to worry and he would come with me when I finished work.

Luckily I had 15 minutes to calm down before my next patient but I suspect a red-eyed pregnant lady doesn't instill much confidence and the girls thought perhaps I should just see my emergencies and cancel the rest.  They managed to get hold of them and get the more urgent cases to come in asap.  Half an hour later I was home and waking Nik again.  Off we went to Maternity assessment (basically maternity A&E) and we didn't have to wait long to be taken through to a bed.  We were then left waiting a wee while as the midwife explained at 21 weeks they wouldn't be able to differentiate between each twin's heartbeats and be able to definitely confirm there were 2 separate ones with the usual monitor so they were waiting for the doctor to come down and do a scan to check the heartbeats.  She said again that at this stage it is most likely nothing to worry about but that it was absolutely not a problem to it get checked out.

The doctor didn't take too long but apologised for our wait.  He was absolutely lovely and ultra reassuring.  They both commented that with all the information, warnings and risks that have been explained to us regarding carrying twins it is absolutely normal to be worried and he said I wasn't being paranoid at all.  He said it is normal for the babies not to be moving at the same time as they might be on different routines and I said that I usually feel our girl much lower down and at different times to our boy anyway but nothing since the night before last, hence my concern.  The midwife had already fired up the ultrasound so he got on with checking and instantly found her heartbeating.  THANK GOODNESS!  Huge relief!  He then briefly checked baby boy who was happily kicking about over on his side.

He then let us watch baby girl for a while, she wasn't moving much but then got the hiccups, stretched her head backwards and started squirming a bit more.  He said he could see her making breathing movements which he commented is very advanced for this stage and she seemed to be very mature for 21 weeks.  He then focussed on her face as he could see her making swallowing movements and showed us her wee mouth from the front, opening and closing.  By this point I was in tears again and the midwife was asking if I was feeling better.  I was just so relieved that everything was OK and I could see them both happily moving away.  She started wriggling around a lot more and we saw her arm waving frantically along her belly at one point.  The reason I can no longer feel her is that  her legs have moved up so she's now lying horizontal and completely tucked into a wee pocket behind her placenta.  (Which may also explain why my belly button has now completely turned into an outie now that her wee feet are tucked in behind it!)  We could see she was all squished in compared to baby boy who was swimming about in lots of fluid in the middle as his placenta is in a different place.  As a result, she is all cushioned and I can't feel her behind the placenta, hence the lack of movement lately.  Cheeky wee girl hiding from us!!  She obviously likes being all tucked up and cosy just like Mummy does!

He said they will always be on either side as the membrane separating them in their sacs is pretty much down the middle so that is why I find it so easy to tell which is which as they are clearly left and right.  Both the doctor and midwife were lovely and happy to reassure us.  The doctor commented that I will likely feel baby girl much less than baby boy until about 24 weeks onwards when they're bigger and stronger.  Both he and the midwife made me feel completely reasonable about being concerned and assured me that even if I wasn't sure and if something didn't feel right I could go right back in, they are there 24 hours and totally aware that just because everything's fine today, it could all change tomorrow and they would rather check than have me ignore any worries.  It may seem like a lot of fuss for nothing but when that fear strikes, it's just a horrendous feeling.  I'd be so devastated if anything happened to our babies and with them being at higher risk of complications it's a very real fear.

We were only in the hospital for around an hour in total so not long at all to wait and obviously completely worth it regardless of how long we might have been there.  I'm so glad we went and everything was well, I feel so much better now.  Thank you so much to the staff at the Southern General Hospital for being amazing and putting our minds at rest!

After such an emotional day (I was already having a particularly difficult and painful day at work anyway!) I am now utterly knackered and off to bed after devouring a curry (yay for being back on curries too) as I was so hungry after just having 3 peaches (still obsessed with them, I've just had 2 more!) at lunchtime and then being too upset to eat.  Definitely time to get me and these babies into bed methinks!  Also, they've just started showing premature babies on TV and I really don't think I can cope with any more tears today!!!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Vote for 10 Mewn Bws (10 in a bus)

by Bex

My lovely friend, Gwen, is currently a finalist in a competition to win a National Lottery Award!  You may remember Gwen from my wedding report about our music as she was our talented harpist!

As part of 10 Mewn Bws, she helps to raise awareness of Welsh traditional music, the musicians involved and create a new legacy (yes, I totally copied that from the website!).  I know she would be delighted if you could take a few moments to vote for them to win!  You can see more info in the video below and you can vote here!

Voting closes on the 23rd July so be quick!  :)

Baby record books - Advice please!

by Bex

One of the things I was going to be really sad to miss out on if we never got to have a baby of our own (with adoption meaning we'd most likely have an older child) was filling in a baby book.  I have my own baby book that my Mum filled in and still love looking through it!  When I was younger and the first of my friends started getting pregnant (one at around 22 and then at 27) the first things I bought as gifts were lovely baby books as I always loved the idea of them.  I am quite the sentimental hoarder, much to Nik's great distress, and to have a special book in which to keep all the things like first lock of hair (yep, mine is still there under the yellowing sellotape!) and hospital bracelet, along with all the first pictures, etc., is just perfect to me.

I think Mum had to wait a while for the hair (apparently I didn't have my first hair cut til I was 5!)

I remember Roz tweeting about having ordered one which was quite different to what she expected when it arrived and a few of you recommended your own baby books, I think I remember Gaynor seemed very impressed with hers.  I'd love it if you could please comment below to let me know details of books you rate.  I'll share a few I am considering but these have all been online finds so I haven't seen them in real life yet to be able to examine what's inside!  If you know any downsides to them, please let me know!  Also I will need two to record each baby's milestones and bits 'n' bobs.  Although I know I could probably record everything together, they might want to take their own book one day as I have so I want to have one for each child.

It even has my bravery certificate from Dr L. E. Fant from my operation when I was 5!

Basic requirements are to be easy to fill in with lots of prompts for things to remember (as I doubt I will have much time or brain power for thinking of things and being crafty in those first few months!), pouches and pockets to put things in such as those mentioned above, lots of space for photos although knowing me I will need a huge album as well (and of course the blog will likely be inundated with hundreds of twin photos!!) and space for writing in other things that happen which may not necessarily be the usual milestones.

The first is from a brand I love - The Bright Side.  I often buy their quirky cards, particularly when trying to avoid buying a pink or blue card for a new baby just to be different (this is SO difficult by the way, have you ever tried to look for a new baby card which isn't blue or pink!?), their cards always make me smile.  Their baby book is titled - Lovely little mini person.  £11.21 from Campus Gifts.

Another is this one by Ryland Peters & Small, £10.49 at John Lewis.  The reviews mention it not having sleeves to keep things in though and I have to admit, I don't love the design on the cover but at least it's gender neutral.

This one from Mothercare (£12) is pretty with the grey design and space for a photo of my own babies on the cover which I love!  The 3 star review is to do with delivery time so not very helpful of what it's like - I'm hoping they have it in store for me to have a flick through.  It doesn't say if it has pockets or anything so I need to check it out.

So basically, I'm wondering if any of you have a baby book that you love?  Have any of you seen the ones above and how would you rate them?  I'm extra excited about this baby purchase!  :)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Baby changing bags

by Bex

I suspect most of you who read Olive Dragonfly also read Florence Finds.  Obviously being about 17 weeks behind Rebecca in my pregnancy, she has already covered a lot of baby related things on Florence Finds and I sometimes feel like I might be boring people when I write about the same things (like my buggy thoughts and now changing bags - I swear I didn't copy her with the Cosatto Pixelate idea, I was just excited that one as colourful as that came as an option for twins!)  Obviously my thoughts are different and with twins the buggy options certainly were but I am thrilled that I can get ideas from reading Rebecca's finds as well as all the comments she's been receiving recommending various products!!  (Also, SO glad that I haven't been jealously avoiding her blog for these last few months as would have likely been the case if our IVF story had never worked out!)  Of course, I'm still going to write about these things anyway as this is my story and I'm excited about getting to choose these things too.  :)

So, changing bags.  Florence Finds was actually my jump start into thinking about this particular baby item and she received SO many comments recommending various brands or pointing out things to think about from people who actually had babies and really knew what was needed when making a changing bag choice!  As Rebecca also mentioned, our very own Roz was raving about the options available in TK Maxx and that happens to be where I ended up buying mine as well.  Thanks Rebecca and Roz!  :)  Roz and I went shopping right after my 20 week scan (she's clearly my lucky charm as the 2 previous TK Maxx stores I'd tried had been a total changing bag let down!) since Nik had had to rush back to his on call shift (thanks also to the person who took the bleep for a couple of hours so he could be at the scan!!)

Most of the ones I had narrowed it down to were different to those I saw featured on FF so here were my choices in case you fancy a nosey...

Anna K recommended her bag from babymoov which is particularly designed to be easily accessed with one hand - very handy when juggling one baby never mind two!  This was actually my favourite design - I love the colours and look of the bag, it seemed spacious and had all the bits you might want (buggy clips, changing mat, lots of sections to keep everything organised).  It has good reviews and Nik also liked this one the best of all the ones I pinned and we were planning on trying to find one to have a look at but never actually saw it in 'real life'.  £54.99 from Tesco

Seeing the Skip Hop grey & lime green design amongst Rebecca's choices, it definitely made the list and was a serious contender when we saw it in John Lewis while we looked at buggies.  I loved the bright green lining of course and again, it had all 'the bits' and was very spacious.  It was softer than a lot of the other options too - some of them are very stiff.  The only downside to this one was the lack of cross body strap option, also the buggy clips were only attached to the lining and I would be worried about this tearing when hanging the weight of all the baby paraphernalia required, especially for twins!  £65 from John Lewis.

Another brand mentioned in the comments was Sophia & Matt, £85-£129, this was one of the pricier options and although they are a British brand and very well thought out with what sounds like excellent customer service and very good quality products, none of the design options really appealed to me.  This purple spot one was my favourite but doesn't really go with my colour choice for the buggy (I am a bit weird about things matching sometimes).

So the one we ended up with from TK Maxx (although I do think I want to see the babymoov before deciding whether to ultimately keep this one, I now have 28 days to decide) was by Lassig, an award winning German brand and the only one I liked from the choice in store.  Similar to Roz, it wasn't a brand I'd heard of before finding it in TK Maxx.  $119.99 from Babies R Us (obviously the US site, I can't find it in the UK).  The picture below really doesn't do it justice as the colours look much nicer in real life!  I've included some pics of my own underneath.  It has cream and teal which will match our buggy as well as lots of other nice bright colours (including an ALMOST olive green!)  I got mine for £37.99 reduced from £83 in TK Maxx!  We do love a bargain!

It has LOADS of different sections with all the extras too.  A decent sized changing mat, an insulated bottle holder which clips in and out, a removable pouch, cross-body strap and buggy clips.  There's also a wet pocket and lots of little sections to keep all my bits organised and the outside feels like oilcloth so it should survive being out in the rain.  It has anti-microbial properties and is made with sustainable fabrics.  You can see it in much more detail in this Youtube review.

The 2 main pockets are really easy to get into with zips that go almost to the bottom, there are plenty of internal pockets too and pouches for mobile phone, sunglasses, etc.  It's a great size for everything I think we'll need for the twins as well as my own stuff!

There's a pocket for baby wipes which gives access to them without having to take the packet out, making it easier to get one out without having to use your other hand to hold the pack down.

Nik also loves it which is great as I don't want him to feel self conscious when he's out and about with it and the twins.

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