20 weeks scan, classes, courses and more……?

Pregnancy is fun! Pardon me for mentioning pregnancy is fun, I didn’t mean it quite like that. It’s fun the same way an outdoor bootcamp session is fun on blistering winter morning. There are moments you love, and moments you hate but hopefully at the end your going to have this amazing outcome, a feeling of intense amazement that yes, you, did it…….Right….Now, back to the story.

The 20 week scan was again at Airdrie scan unit. Andrew and I again on tenterhooks, this was it, if everything was ok, this was our last medical based scan. This is the scan where they check everything over, heart, feet, lips, all major organs and limbs. They measure and calculate growth and they sometimes tell you the gender if you’re lucky.

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Our 20 week scan was brief, I’m definitely not complaining as the woman was thorough, that much was obvious. We got to see hands, and fingers and toes and knees. Andrew asked if she could confirm that he was a boy, “that’s not part of the scan” she said, before getting straight back to work. She mentioned a small indicator later that yes he was a boy. Of course we already knew this but having a confirmation was nice. After our scan we did the usual routine, sitting in my car, phoning everyone through the Bluetooth and hearing their reaction to the scan image we had just send them. They were fun times, those little sections of life after the scans. I won’t forget them quickly. I love hearing or watching people’s reactions to a range of things.

Now because it was the new year, and because I was 20 weeks pregnant. I thought I should get down to some birth type, baby type classes. At this point the NHS lanarkshire don’t offer you much by the way of classes, but there is no harm in looking for some yourself. Lucky for me, my friend Ruth was also pregnant, about 16 weeks so, I was going to be dragging her butt along to everything I could find.

I came across a few classes advertised online, on netmums, and google. I sent a few emails and a few text messages because I had the cold and didn’t want to sound like an old pervy man on the phone. So that was me, booked into none other than 4 different types of class.

I had booked into a Pilates class in Airdrie with Ruth, taught by a woman that Ruth had been going to for years, I’d met her once in John Lewis when Ruth and I were shopping. I had a woman coming to the house to do a type of yoga called Dru Yoga, this was a 1-2-1, she was cheaply priced so I wasn’t adverse to trying it however I did recommend she do the first session free, she was having none of it. I also had the famous Tuesday nights Aquanatal class in the Tryst sports centre. And finally I was booked into (Ruth in tow) a course of Lazy Daisy Active Birthing which was an hour and a half long in the Westerwood hotel, Cumbernauld , my first class the very night of my 20 weeks scan. I was venturing into a whole new world and I couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty.

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Best bump lotions and potions ever!

With my ever expanding bump, my priorities of a body cream had completely changed. I have the fear! It’s my biggest worry, that I’lI be adorned with stripes by the end of my pregnancy. I know some mummies that say they are proud of their stripes, but I’d rather avoid having stripes to be proud of, it’s one less thing to worry about when I’m trying to kick my post preggo belly back into gear. So I decided I needed something amazing an elixir promising super supple skin and absolutely no stretch marks. Here’s the few I’ve tried, my winners and my losers:

Palmers cocoa butter cream:

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The Claim: A creamy lotion made from pure Cocoa Butter enriched with Vitamin E, this cult product is an advanced moisturiser that softens, smooths and relieves skin. High quality Cocoa Butter is a rich natural moisturiser which leaves skin soft and silky smooth, transforming even the roughest, driest areas into buttery soft skin. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which helps to improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and imperfections on the skin, giving a more even and toned appearance.

The reviews: It gets a 4.3 out of 5 on makeup alley, but like marmite, most reviewers either love or hate the smell. Especially pregnant women, There is different scents available now though so if you really want to give it a go then try a different one like the Shea or olive one.

The Natview:This was and had for a long time been my favourite moisturiser, it’s thick and gets absorbed quickly. It smells good enough to eat and isn’t too artificially scented. A good number of years ago I was on a medication for acne called Roacuttane, which was horrendous for drying out my skin, my eyes, and my lips. The only thing that even slightly made a difference to my skin in these times was palmers cocoa butter hand and elbow cream, yes I used it on my face, but my it worked so well. The cream is buttons, £4 for a big squeezey bottle and lasts a wee while.

Bio oil:

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The Claim: Bio‑Oil is a specialist skincare oil that helps improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. It is also effective for aging and dehydrated skin. Bio‑Oil has won 85 skincare awards and has become the No.1 selling scar and stretch mark product in 11 countries since its global launch in 2002.

The reviews: With 3.4 out of 5 on make up alley it’s a pretty decent score. The reviews are mixed and most people say after using it for a long time the stretch marks can fade. I don’t think though it should be marketed for pregnancy as most of the reviews are saying its not moisturising and leaves them itchy.

The Natview: This is meant to be the oil used for stretch marks, it’s meant to be great, super moisturising and help diminish imperfections. Now I don’t know about these claims as I don’t have stretch marks yet, but what I do know is how oily, greasy and yucky it is to put on, how little it’s absorbed and how if I even touch my face after using any of it, my skin will break out terribly. What I do notice with Bio oil though is that it doesn’t improve the moisture in my skin at all, it makes it worse, it’s like it keeps all the air out, makes it itchy, and it feels like it heats it up, like my skin is on fire. £8 for a standard size bottle I think is a decent price for a good product that fulfils all its promises but unfortunately for me it just didn’t.

Sanctuary spa Mum to be stretch mark oil:

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The Claim: Tamanu, borage and organic rosehip seed oils help to prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

The Reviews: No reviews on Makeup Alley but dooyoo gives it 4 out of 5 stars. The reviews vary between people saying they love it and its a miracle cure and that its too expensive. I do agree that for a boots sanctuary product it is on the pricey side, especially with how small the bottle is.

The Natview: Oh my god this stuff smells amazing, I bought this from a Jack and Jill market, the sanctuary spa mum to be hat box. Got it for £4 but I think it’s around £18 to buy the hat box and the larger bottle of oil on its own is £11. I really loved this oil, it was so good and wasn’t too greasy, I loved rubbing this oil in before I went to sleep as the smell is so relaxing it just sends me off to sleep. The oil is really moisturising and takes any itchiness away. I just couldn’t justify the money though for such as small bottle as it doesn’t get you very far.

Elemis Japanese Camellia oil blend:

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The Claim:For many centuries Camellia Oil from Japan has been used for the care of nails, hair, scalp and combination skin. Easily absorbed and rich in plant collagen, it is ideal for helping to prevent stretch marks whilst pregnant and improving skin elasticity and condition over the whole body.

The Reviews: 4.7 out of 5 and rarely a bad review, the comments range from being economical, smelling lovely, easily absorbed and non greasy. Victoria Beckham tweeted that she has used it. Through all her pregnancies and loves it to no end.

The Natview: My besty Lee bought me this wonderful oil for my Christmas and I got to using it right away, couldn’t believe how thoughtful a gift this was. This has got to be my favourite product by far, it’s got a really subtle scent and feels amazing on your skin. A tiny bit of oil goes a long way and at £28 a bottle that’s a good thing. That however was at around 19 weeks when my bump was only just emerging. Now writing this at 30 weeks with a more rotund bump I can say it doesn’t last as long as i thought with more surface space to cover. It’s still good though and I love it.

Hogmanay getaway

Between Christmas and New Year Andrew, My Mum, my Step-Dad Johnny and I headed up North. Usually this would have been the time of the year I’d be tightening up my bindings and making the best of the Scottish snow, obviously snowboarding for me, was not on the cards. However the others would get to experience the wonderful Scottish attempt at snow.

We had booked in Kirkmicheal’s log cabin hotel otherwise known as Nae Limits log cabin hotel. I’d been there early in the year with Andrew and a group of friends and a few times before that too. So when I booked it I had confidence that it was a nice cosy wee hotel. Nestled in a hill in the Scottish countryside. God were we to be in for a shock.
My Mum and John’s room was freezing cold, her ceiling lights were broken and the room smelled very bad. I knew the walls were paper thin, but to give you an idea I heard my Mum offer John a cup of tea through the walls. Then conveniently for us a group of 5 kids got put next door to them with their parents down the corridor and a couple with twins aged about 4 months were put next to us. Cue one awful sleepless night, but then again I suppose it’s all practice. The following night a young couple were on the other side and they provided us with evening entertainment with their very audible escapades.

Later that evening when we had the lights on at night in our room we realised just how downhill the place had went. The lights illuminated the dust covered spider webs all over the walls, it was like it had been decorated for Halloween, a set for historic film, Arachnophobia.I couldn’t believe that it was £90 a night, and felt quite guilty that I had chosen this particular hotel with confidence.

The snow wasn’t particularly great either, well……… From what I observed. I sent my Mum and John out on a lesson, Andrew hit the slopes and I, well, I just sat in the cafe all day reading my book and watched everyone coming in drenched, dripping, soaking wet from the dreect Scottish weather. I had some hot chocolate, a wee mrs crumbles coconut macaroon and another hot chocolate thrown in for good measure.

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But of course we made the best of our wee stay, my Mum, John and Andrew sampled the many refreshments, we played darts, I won!!! Surprisingly. Most of all we relaxed, it’s good sometimes just to get away.

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For Hogmanay we spent the night at my Nana’s, it was hilarious. Andrew was about to get all dressed up, meanwhile I’m sticking on jeans and a t-shirt. He turns to me with a concerned look “is that what you’re wearing”, “trust me” I say. There is no point in getting dressed up. When we got to my Nana’s, my Mum, John, and my auntie Anne were there. No one was dressed. I had mentioned to Andrew that he might get to first foot or qualtagh since he was the tallest, he didn’t know what I was talking about, I explained. Basically just before the bells, my Nana will shove whoever is tall, dark and handsome out the front door, with a bottle of whiskey, shortbread and coins, in order for them to be the first person welcomed into the house in the New Year. This apparently is lucky and is said to bring prosperity, warmth and good cheer to a household the whole year through.

Unfortunately for Andrew he was ousted by John as he has dark hair, John is proud of his long stream of first footing my Nana’s house, he is not one to be merely overthrown by a newcomer. I teased him that next year year we would dye Andrews hair black, then he’d have no chance. About 20 minutes before the bells, my Auntie anne announced she was away to get ready, this being her first Hogmanay at my Nana’s since she moved out in her teens. “What for” echoed around the room. 10 minutes later she was back wearing a dress, and skyscraper heels looking like she was about to head out to a nightclub.

The bells rung out for 2013 and as I kissed and hugged my precious family I thought, this year I will be a Mum. It was a surreal thought which reverberated around my head a few times before settling. My Nana served up her Steak Pie, and Mushy peas, then that was us, time to go home. “What?” Said Anne. We did warn her. Never a glamorous affair, no pretences or airs and graces. Going to my Nana’s for Hogmanay will never be the biggest party in town. But it’s our party and its nice, it’s caring enough about the people you love to spend little pockets of history with them. Sometimes it’s an anti climax at Hogmanay but even with that. It just doesn’t feel right to spend it with anyone else.

A very pregnant Christmas

Christmas this year was a busy time. Lots of things going on, dinner dates, pantos and rendezvous with family members. It was all made a little more busier a couple of days before, as luck would have it, when a van ran into the back of my car as i was about to pull out at a junction. Luckily for me I had my break covered and on impact pressed which prevented my car being shunted out into moving traffic. I was a shell shocked to say the least, and then whisked to Wishaw general where I saw a doctor in A&E. He advised me that I was going to be very sore, and since being pregnant means no anti inflammatory meds I was going to have to endure the pain.

I wasn’t really caring about the pain, I wanted to get the A&E part over with so I could quickly get the baby checked. They assured me it was normal practice to get me checked over first. I was not happy about this. As far as I was concerned I could walk, I was just a little shaken but I didn’t know what my 19 week baby was feeling. I wanted to know, and quickly.

After what seemed like hours, eventually A&E were happy to send me up to maternity triage where I waited to see a midwife. Concern was running high. When the midwife appeared I was glad to see her with a hand held doppler. I hadn’t yet heard my babies heart rate. She put ultrasound gel on my stomach just like a scan, rolled the doppler around in it and settled. Lots of swishing, whooshing, gushing noises followed then some deep throbbing sounds, then all of a sudden, there was a fast beating sort of like a wee train chugging away on the tracks. Fast and strong and even. The midwife was pleased. Everything with baby is alright she said. I exhaled, relief flooded through me. That’s all you need to hear as a scared mum to be.

Christmas passed with a flash, I made my first ever Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve in my house with and Andrew and his Gran as my guests. For me it was a mini anniversary as such because a year earlier was when i first ever had andrew at my house and cooked for him. I celebrated with some shloer, not missing the alcohol too much, yet.

Christmas Day was spent at Andrews Mums, it was a grand affair, I’d never had a Christmas dinner with matching cutlery or fancy napkins and name plates. I was always used to having Christmas dinner at my Nana’s which nostalgically I love, and always enjoyed it but its too much stress and hassle for them now. At Andrew’s Mum’s we played charades, and family fortunes, and I got to spend some more time with Andrew’s sister, Samantha, who I had only met once as she lives in Bermuda. It was the best day, we didn’t leave until early in the morning, I was absolutely gubbed for lack of a better word.

For the first time ever I spent nearly the full of Boxing Day in bed. It was heaven.

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The good, the bad and the festive

Christmas is by far my favourite time of year, I love December, I love the buzz in the air, the feeling of anticipation people have, The shops, the thought that someone loves you enough to keep you a wee surprise for Christmas morning. I usually love checking the mountain forecast on the Scottish ski resorts incessantly. This year it was a tad different.

I had my decorations up on the 1st of December as I usually do. My old school, non matching, pic n mix of decorations always get me in the spirit. Then the only thing to do after that is cosy in with a big cup of tea and watch the muppets Christmas carol. No muppets in my house this year, I’d sold my tv in the preparation of moving in with Andrew in January. On a more positive note, I had a great table to sit my Christmas tree on, right at the window for everyone to see.

As for the snow forecast at the ski resorts, what is the point. I’m pregnant and could not pursue my favourite past time of snowboarding. I was miserable at the thought and fully expected to get the best skiing season ever just because I couldn’t play. Luckily that didn’t happen and I didn’t have to put up with everyone gloating about the bluebird days and powder they were enjoying. The girls snowboarding gear this season was lovely though, feminine and funky, I was loving it, and saving myself a fortune because I wasn’t buying it. I would have never needed it anyway as I already have around 6 different kits.

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The Christmas buzz was there alright, I was getting myself all worked into a tizzy about presents and the likes. I’d had everyone’s since November so there was no rushing about for me but the excitement of giving people presents I thought they would like is one of the best feelings ever.
My Mum and Andrew both had some additions to my Christmas this year. Maternity clothes. My mum got me a pair of jeans and two dresses and Andrew got me jeans and leggings, all from Mothercare. At the time I was slightly disappointed that I was getting them for Christmas, as I don’t like knowing what I’m getting, I’m all about the surprise. But now when I look back, those few items of clothing were especially useful.

By mid December I was starting to feel it a struggle to squeeze into my jeans, I just didn’t feel comfortable in most of my clothes and looked like a wee lump of a person. I had my Christmas night out for work coming up and I was especially proud of myself to be still fitting into a dress I bought in August.

The Christmas night out was at Dumblane Hydro and in usual fire brigade style it was an overnight. Usually a party night and a dinner. They’re always the best of fun. This year I was dubious about going and not being under the influence of alcohol. I was right to be dubious. We went to the pub during the day and I had great fun with my workmates who I hadn’t worked with for quite some time, then it was up to the hotel to get our glad rags on for the dinner. By dinner time they were all quite joyous on the booze, very loud and having a laugh. For the first time ever on a fire service night out I was shrinking under the table. I went up to my room at half 9 and read my book. I couldn’t take it. I was a boring sober chick and I was jealous.

The next morning I went for a pregnancy pamper treatment in their spa, it was a Thalgo algae mud treatment and massage. I didn’t love it, I’ll be honest. The young girl that did the treatment was lovely but it was as if she was afraid to touch the hint of bump i had. She skirted around it, which was weird considering it was a treatment for stretch marks to tone pregnancy skin. To make matters worse, the mud smelled like a dirty old fish tank that hadn’t been cleaned out, it was making me gag. Surely it’s common sense to have things that smell subtle when people are pregnant, strong smells do not usually go down well. £55 down the drain, I didn’t even feel relaxed and had to sprint back to the hotel to check out since the earliest time the spa could do for a 50 minute treatment was 10am when check out was 11.

Once I got to my room and picked up my stuff I couldn’t find the nearest lift and the hotel is like something from the shining. I was up and down sets of stairs with a dress bag, a handbag and a mini suitcase. The sweat was pouring off me, radiating the fish algae smell as I heated up with the amount of stairs I had to endure. I didn’t find it too bad on check in as Iain my colleague was a gentleman and lifted my suitcase. But they had already all checked out and I was on my own. Being pregnant and doing cardio sucks! I was knackered and in a bad mood on the way home on the bus. I felt bad for the guys as they were still all on high spirits from the party night and I was just wasting their buzz sitting there with a face like a wet slipper.

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