What I wish I knew when pregnant with Clark.

So if you follow me on any of my social media you will know that 10 months ago a little bundle of joy named Clark came into our lives, 11 days late (timekeeping skills like his mother) hours before I was due to be induced.

Pregnancy for me was not the easiest of journeys, the first trimester was filled with worry as this was the 4th time I was pregnant and so each week was a mini milestone that had never previously been reached. The second trimester arrived at which point I was expecting my sickness to disappear…. It did not!!!!  Making me incredibly frustrated that every evening I would see my dinner not once but twice. By the time this passed and I was in the home stretch I would say that things began to fall into place. I was allowing myself to get excited and then before we knew it Clark was born on the 26th August after 12 hours in labour.
Anyways enough about me, you are probably reading this as you are pregnant or trying or even just because you have had kids and want to see if someone else was feeling the same as you… So here goes:
Accept that your birthing plan may not go to plan – Yes you can plan to listen to whale music and meditate your way through your labour or you can plan to take every drug going and hope that you can simply wake up and baby will be there. (Wishful thinking right?)  Whatever your plan is, just be aware that sometimes things simply won’t work out like that. I went in thinking I would be able to deal with the pain and within 20 minutes was begging for all the pain relief I could get which shows that I completely underestimated how much pain I would be in (Or the fact I am a proper wimp!)
Knowing that the proverbial shit may hit the fan and trying to be as accepting as possible is the only way you are going to come out of this without too much trauma. If the midwives are suggesting you do something I would just go with it. They help women hoof out babies all the time!
8 days before due date celebrating my beautiful bestie's birthday!

8 days before due date celebrating my beautiful bestie’s birthday!

Don’t set yourself up for… I told you so….
You can bet your last penny that if you are fully intent on something for the baby that the baby will decide it’s doing the opposite. If you are intent on breastfeeding there may be reasons beyond your control that will put a stop to that. So with this in mind try not to be too vocal about your intentions before the baby arrives. Especially to your friends who already have kids as they will know this may not happen!
I had the notion that I would be able to feed and express milk at the start to build up a supply so that Adam and I could share the feeding responsibilities. Where I thought I was going to get all the time to do that is beyond me!!! I could not even manage breastfeeding let alone expressing. So even when my friends told me this could be quite hard the pregnant Emma shot them down in flames!!! So yeah I loved it when I realised I could not do it and my friends said “I told you so….” Thankfully they waited until my stitches were semi healed before doing this!
Try not to feel disheartened when  things don’t go to plan. Plans can be a bit like farts, try to force it and it will end up being shit!!!!
Take the opinions with a smile and a pinch of salt…..
That’s the great thing about opinions, every Tom Dick and Harry has them and you will be amazed when you are pregnant how people love to give you theirs. But like the Xmas present that you get from your nan every year that you know will be going on eBay, just smile and accept what they say. No matter how little you know about babies once they are here your maternal instinct kicks in and you will soon know what is best for your little one.
You and no one else!!
So when your Great Aunt tells you that a drop of brandy will help the baby with teething just smile and nod and know that its you that will need the brandy not the baby.

Get used to broken sleep – If one more person had told me to get plenty of sleep before the baby arrived I was going to punch them. If you can sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time without needing a wee, or waking up with a dead leg or baby doing the river dance on your ribs then you have lucked out.
All I can say on this is treat this as conditioning for what you will be like when the baby arrives. The sooner you can get up and function on less than an hours sleep the better. And the sooner you accept this the better too!
Put your feet up – This is probably the only piece of advice I wish I had listened to more. Towards the end of the pregnancy I was impatient as hell and so to pass the time I kept busy. Who in their right mind arranges for the hallway to be decorated 2 days past my due date. (Yeah I am a twat!).
Once the baby arrives things don’t stop…. ever….. even though at the beginning the baby will hopefully sleep a lot you still don’t really get time to fully relax. You are either filled with a nervous energy that you should be doing something to take advantage of the time or your mind is going at one million miles an hour if the baby is still breathing or questioning if you should wake them for a feed (don’t).
Make the most of that time before baby arrives to do you! Read a book, go for a pregnancy massage, curl up on the sofa and watch a series of something. Just enjoy the peace and being able to have some quiet time as you will miss it when baby is here.
 
Do a hospital tour – All Maternity suites will offer some kind of tour for expectant parents and I would recommend that you take them up on this. As daft as it sounds you want to have some kind of idea of what to do when labour hits. Learn where you can park your car. Sounds obvious but we found out that there are certain bays outside the maternity wing where you can get an hours free parking. This came in handy for us as all the other bays nearby were taken so the car was dumped there while I went in and was settled then Ad went to move it.
Also find out whether the things on your birthing plan are possible, for example if you want a water birth how many rooms have that facility, if the answer is only one you may want to gear yourself up for the possibility that someone may be in there when you arrive. Do you want to listen to music? Many delivery rooms have speakers in there so if you know this you may be tempted to put some of your favourite tracks on your phone before the big day.

Eat the Cake –
 This one is probably my favourite! When you are pregnant there are so many restrictions on what you can eat and what you can’t… No wine, no pate, no soft scoop ice cream can all be quite frustrating especially in this midst of the summer if you are pregnant and are enduring bbq’s where everyone is tipsy on sangria or hearing the ice cream man when you are sweating your tits off in the middle of July!
Cakes are pretty safe and there is nothing that can cheer you up more than a big slice of victoria sponge and a brew. So make the  most of it. You are eating for two after all!
Why have one cake when you can have three??

Why have one cake when you can have three??

Enjoy some time with your other half – Pregnancy can be very testing on even the strongest of relationships, especially for first time parents. With emotions running high and hormones all over the show it does not take much to tip you over the edge and want you to cause serious bodily harm to them!
This is the last time that the two of you are going to be able to do things on a whim so take advantage of it. Go out for dinner, see a film, if you can stretch to it go away and enjoy quality time with your partner before all hell breaks loose!
Our trip away to Dorset before Clark arrived!

Our trip away to Dorset before Clark arrived!


Put your bag in the car seat –
Lastly one that I have learnt the hard way, if you are going shopping for car seats and buggy’s etc. Although car seats seem quite light when you are trying them in the shop you need to put some weight in them to see how easy they are to lift when you have a baby in them. A good way to do this is to fill your handbag and use that as a weight. I found when I have my organiser, makeup bag, perfume, etc all in my bag its a good weight.
Use that as a weight to see how easy a car seat would be to lift in and out of a car once its got a baby in there. It was not long before I struggled lifting Clark in his car seat so it ended up staying in the car and getting Clark in and out when he was still quite little was not ideal!

 

Was not long before the Car Seat was too heavy with this little lump in it!

Was not long before the Car Seat was too heavy with this little lump in it!

 So there you have it! Hopefully I will listen to a few more of these myself if we are ever lucky enough to have another mini hooligan in our lives!!