Monday, 31 December 2012

2013 - the year I become mum!

Tomorrow is the first day of 2013 and I'll also be 22 weeks. Another 18 weeks tops and I'll be a mummy!

This year has been a pretty good one all round and hubs and I have the best yet to come in 2013. Life won't be the same again but we're ready for the challenge and optimistic about what the year has in store. I hope to see our friends and family more and want to enjoy each new stage between now and when little bean arrives.
It's certainly going to be interesting!

Happy New Year to you all - here's to a fabulous 2013!

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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Maternity sale shopping

Following my post the other week about the dire high street offering for mamas to be, I thought I'd post about the maternity sales surfing I've been doing online.

Next has some good offers in their sale but delivery times seem to be quite long. Topshop has some stylish options in the sale too but hands down, the best high street shop is New Look for maternity clothes choice and good sales prices.

There's a range of basic options to choose from and a decent selection of trousers and jeans included. There's also a couple of really lovely dresses so if you have an event coming up, now is the time to snap up a bargain.

I bought a couple of basics enough tops including a white cowl neck top with bird print, a navy t-shirt with stud detail around the colour and an empire line black and white stripe top.

However, the best options for maternity wear remain with ordinary clothes bought in a size up from usual (except for when trousers, leggings and tights are concerned) in my opinion. The spring catalogue from my favourite go-to shop, H&M, landed on my doormat today and one look at the fresh spring colours and stylish staples was all it took. I've ordered two flattering blouses in sky blue and neon pink, a mint green jumper, an apricot jumper, a leopard print long line sleeveless blouse, a long sleeve black shirt with studded colour, blue colourful print ballet pumps and four pairs of earrings in equally spring-like colours, all for less than £95. Feeling very pleased with myself and looking forward to seeing it all in the flesh.

I'm also pleased to have picked up some very pretty maternity bras in Mothercare. I had a proper fitting, picked some very comfy but very nice to look at bras and even got £5 off. Bonus!

Considering I have also bought some new hair extensions and some Gok Wan treats in the Boots sale (bought with my points card) I will be retiring from shopping from now until forever. I'm sorted for clothes now, plus I have a box of goodies in my wardrobe to see me through with lotions and potions for the next year; we've bought all the baby bits we need aside from a few things we've put on a gift list so now every spare penny goes into the maternity leave pot.

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Sunday, 23 December 2012

20 weeks

This week I reached the half way point. Yep, I'm halfway to be becoming mum!

Still feeling well, aside from a little heartburn now and then and feeling a little cumbersome when turning over in bed or getting off the sofa. In fact, we've just switched the slightly sturdy sofa from the dining room with one in the lounge which was quite low and too deep for me to get off of without a lot of wiggling. It can only get worse the bigger I become so glad we made the switch now.

On Wednesday, I felt a little flip in my tummy when my cat Arty was padding on my lap but it was quite small. Then on Friday, I was laying on the bed and felt a flip in my tummy but again, it didn't last long and when I concentrated, I couldn't feel anything.

So, it could be baby starting to say hello or my mind playing tricks on me. Either way, it can't be too long before I feel bubs as I'm certainly showing. Here's a pic of me last night in all my bumpy glory:
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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Has the high street forgotten pregnant ladies?

Where oh where can you find good maternity wear? Good price, good choice and good style?

At the moment, it seems like nowhere caters to the expectant mum in the way I had expected some of my favourite retailers to.

Now, I don't feel the need to buy a completely new wardrobe just for the months ahead but as your bump grows, you need some well-designed, comfortable options that fit well but don't leave you looking like a bag of saggy washing.

I honestly can't understand why high street brands even bother offering a maternity range if a) it's only a half-hearted attempt featuring just a couple of shapeless, styleless pieces, and/or b) they're only going to offer it online. If there's ever a time in your life when you need to 'try before you buy', it's during pregnancy. Who knows what size you need now or may need in the future? Simply clicking 'add to bag' and crossing your fingers at the virtual checkout seems like a complete cop out for mums-to-be. Why should we be treated any differently? Just because we're having a baby doesn't mean we want to be bland - we haven't had a personality transplant!

My main issue is that now more than ever, I am budget-conscious and know that what I wear now may not be something I wear for a long time. To be honest, when it comes to certain styles of clothing, you can get away with wearing normal clothes, or you can just buy a size or two bigger. But when it comes to trousers, leggings, jeans and tights, you need a stretchy waist (nothing feels better) and for tops, you do need a little more length.

I have looked at the following maternity ranges:H&M (my favourite store, but their maternity range is very limited), New Look (much better and with some ok tops to choose from), Next (too frumpy overall) and Dorothy Perkins (just 17 items to choose from). I know there are specialist shops for people in my condition - namely Mamas and Papas and Mothercare on the high street - but for me, they tend to be for mums in their 30's, or those who are more 'mother nature' or 'classic' in their choice of clothes, plus the prices seem to be as inflated as their customer's tums.

All I want is to buy some nice, comfortable tops that are long enough to cover bump and warm enough for winter and don't come in an exciting choice of plain white or grey. I've been luckier on the trouser front, with two pairs of comfortable and not too mumsy work trousers from Next, over the bump blue jeans from New Look and over the bump black jeans from Dorothy Perkins (although the size 12's are far too loose and there's no belt loops - I seriously cannot have lost weight!).

I think this weekend I'll have to give in on my search and head to the shops to look for oversize jumpers and super stretchy tops to tide me over. I need to be warm, comfortable and smart looking for work and in general, I just want to look like me.

If anyone can recommend a good maternity range, without a hefty price tag attached, I would be most grateful.
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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Famous before birth!

Working in PR, it really was only a matter of time before I was going to put little bean forward for something, pushing them into the limelight.

And today was that day! I went to my ante natal clinic and found out they were filming a new video for the NHS, showing how they support everyone from the day they are born through to old age. It will be available online and promoted quite a bit to patients apparently and they were looking for someone who was due to have their 20 week scan to take part.

Enter stage left - me and bump. I didn't mind having a second chance in as many days to see little bean again. Honestly, I couldn't stop thinking about its little feet last night! So, I said yes and jumped on the bed in front of four strangers and the sonographer to have the cold jelly squeezed on by tum for a second 20 week scan.

Instead of lying there asleep like bean did yesterday, we had a little performer on our hands. Bean showed us a few karate style moves, wiggled its legs in the air and even looked like it was blowing a kiss (well, it wiggled its lips, but I like to think it was saying hello!).

The film crew were keen to capture my reactions and hopefully I didn't disappoint. It was so nice to see bubs again and I even got three new, different scan photos to take away (for free, no less) which made it all the more worth it.

So, at 19 weeks old in my tummy, Baby O is set to be a screen star (sort of). I've already started my transformation into embarrassing mum but nevermind. It'll be a lovely memory to treasure.

Here's little bean having its close up today - next time we meet in this way, he / she will be on the other side...

Stretching its legs
Waving its arms
Hands up in the air!
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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

19 Week Scan

At 19 weeks today, I went with Ste to have our 20 week (or anomaly) scan to make sure little bean has all its fingers and toes, with everything growing as it should.

And the good news is, it is!

Even though bubs seemed determined to have a little snooze rather than show the nice sonographer its spine and bottom, meaning I had to jiggle my tummy around to try and make bean move, they measured everything they needed to and there's nothing to worry about.

Hurrah!

I felt a little faint part way through - I think I was just hot and all the prodding was getting a little much. I had some water and felt fine again, but I did feel a little poked and prodded afterwards - like a giant mouse mat.

It was amazing to see all the details so clear on the screen. You could see all the fingers and toes, the chambers of the heart, its stomach, kidneys, ribs and spine. Even it's little nose.

It was a lovely experience and really made things seem very real. We're having a baby!

Little bean, 19 weeks old, growing very nicely
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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

18 weeks today

Here's what's going on at the moment with bump (according to my baby app):
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A bumpy Christmas

I love Christmas but this year is even more special. I'm so pleased to have a bump for the Christmas period - sure, I'd love a mulled wine at the Frankfurt market and I will miss my traditional glass of port when opening presents.

However, it's all worth it as we know this our last Christmas as a twosome - ever!

I think that's why I've really thrown myself into the season this year from an early stage. I made my cards weeks ago and wrote them at the weekend. I had 90% of our presents bought by 30th October. I've been making chocolate truffles, gingerbread and fudge for gifts. I've even made my own crackers tonight for an early Christmas with friends this weekend. The decs also went up on Saturday and we dedicated the whole day to getting in the festive spirit.

At a time when work is super busy and I should probably be putting my feet up, I'm trying to do as much as I can to make this Christmas the best one yet and to make an extra effort with family and friends. I love making other people happy and I guess I know that next year, all of my making and baking will probably be pretty much impossible.

Here's a snapshot of our Christmas so far and the bits and pieces I've been doing to make this a memorable year to look back on.





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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Creating the perfect nursery

Although I'm only 17wks (as of yesterday) and it'll be a little while before bubs will actually sleep in the nursery, Ste and I couldn't resist from planning this right from the beginning.

Being super organised, long before we conceived we were discussing what we'd like to do with our spare room, what themes and colours would work well and what we would need to equip the nursery with.

Our small spare room has always had a nice feel to it and already has quite a few practical features:
  • It's positioned over the staircase, so there's a cupboard built on top of the part that comes into the room, which has ten shelf spaces inside for plenty of storage and for us to use wicker baskets to store babies clothes, bits and bobs. There's also two drawers built-in which are deep and will be very handy to keep nappies, wipes and cream close to hand.

Spare room as it is (the samari sword will be gone when baby comes, don't worry, and the cot will go where the desk is)
  • It has laminate flooring which makes it much easier to keep clean.
  • It's west facing so sunlight only comes through the window in mid afternoon, so it never gets too warm or too bright.
  • There's four rows of bookshelves, staggered on the main wall on the left, with dividers to create sections, which will be perfect to keep books, pictures and the extra special toys out of harms way and neatly organised.
All we need to really do with the room (aside from find somewhere else to store all the laundry we seem to hoard) is to give it a fresh lick of paint.

The Scheme
As we won't be finding out whether bubs is a he or a she before the big B day, we wanted to choose a scheme that would be gender neutral without being bland. I have a love of children's books and have been collecting traditional tomes and fairy tale collections for a while now. Ste's family have also long had a love of Winnie the Pooh, so we decided that we would display books and toys from these classic stories on the bookshelves and we may also buy some personalised wall stickers, taking quotes from these books.

We weren't really looking to buy a complete look from one store but when we found the collection we have chosen, we just couldn't help ourselves. The bright yet really beautiful Jamboree range from Mamas and Papas caught our eye with its fun characters and combinations of print, purple, orange red and lime tones. Perfect for boy or girl, we have bought most of the Jamboree items, including the following:

Cot Mobile

Nappy Stacker
Cushion
Bunting (you can add letters to this to spell our baby's name too)
We're storing everything at the moment and will probably paint the nursery one weekend soon or over the Christmas break - before I get too big and become relatively useless for DIY! Can't wait to see the whole room dressed.
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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

What's in a name?

One of the most important things for parents-to-be to decide is the name of their child. It's a label for life, it has to suit your personalities, your surname, not spell anything rude with the other initials, sound unique but not too weird so they aren't picked on at school... there's such a long list of things to think about.

For Ste and I, this part is easy. Having been together for almost nine years, we have considered baby names for a long time, even before we were planning on starting a family. We compared our likes and dislikes and picked names for a boy and a girl a few years ago which we still love to this day. You never know what could happen over the next five months but we're pretty sure we've picked two great names. Nice to say and to write, with cute short versions if they really insist on not being called their full name when they're in their teens. Both work well with our surname - O'Hanlon - and we think they are special enough without being wacky, what-the-hell-were-you-thinking kind of names.

Even if we did choose something weird and wonderful, what would the harm be? Names are so subjective which is why we aren't revealing the names until bubs arrives. After all, you can hardly turn around when the baby is here and say 'what did you name him / her that for?' can you?

The subject of names has also become a discussion for us about what we and our parents would all like to be called. I don't know about you, but I had a mum / mummy whereas Ste called his mom / mommy. Only a small difference but it does matter as I can't imagine being anything other than a mum / mummy.

As for grandparents, my mum would like to be Nanna (as that was what I called her mum) and I have assigned my dad Gramps. I just think it sounds so cute! Ste's dad will be Grandad and his mum wants to be called Nanny. None of them feel old enough to have such an old sounding title but I am sure they will get used to it when the time comes!
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Sunday, 18 November 2012

To Know or Not To Know


The second question everyone has asked us after announcing our news, following 'when's your due date?' has been 'are you going to find out what it is?'.

It's wonderful to see how excited and eager all our friends and family are about our little bundle but for us, the excitement really is in the not knowing.

So much of our lives are planned to the letter and information is at our fingertips, literally, whenever we need it. One thing that can remain a mystery is whether you are having a son or daughter.

From a practical standpoint, I totally understand why people want to find out as soon as they can - after all, sleepsuits aside, finding gender-neutral outfits for baby is quite a task.

But for us, we want to keep that piece of information a surprise, even to ourselves.

After all, it won't change anything one way or the other. As long as bubs is healthy, it doesn't matter one bit if it's a boy or girl. From the trend of women I have known over the years who have had babies, it's 99.9% certain to be a boy but it's one of life's great mysteries and we'll wait until May to find out what Mother Nature has in store.
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The Ticking Clock

I will be 16 weeks on Tuesday although it feels like I have been pregnant for a long time - and not a lot has really happened yet!

I know that before too long, I will probably be complaining of kicks and twinges and sleepless nights, but I simply cannot wait until I feel bubs move for the first time.

According to my baby app (there's an app for everything isn't there?!), bubs is going to treble in size and grow a lot in length over the next three weeks so there's a lot to look forward to.

Even though I have a nice little bump coming along, all of this will only truly sink in when I feel that first flutter.

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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Spreading the good news

The best thing since finding out we were expecting was telling other people we were expecting.

It was tricky to work out who to tell when - some friends we wouldn't see for a while so we told them early on, we wanted to wait for the first scan before telling our families, I needed to tell work as I couldn't hide it mucho get but we still had wider family to tell. It's a lot trickier than you think, trying to spread the word!

What has been truly amazing since letting the cat out of the bag and no longer keeping mum, is the comments we have has from people, including close family and people we haven't seen for years.

I wanted to share some of the lovely comments we've had from our rather excited friends and family.
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Meet our little bean

No expectant mother has ever said to me that it can take 16-20 weeks before you first feel baby moving.

Am I the only one who thinks that is crazy?! You can be growing this little person inside yet not feel that much different for almost half your pregnancy.

Touch wood, I have been really luck so far and haven't had any sickness - every so often I feel a little perculiar but nothing to really complain about.

That's why, when it came to the 12 week scan, I got myself worked up into a right state. I actually thought I had made the baby up, as nothing seemed to be happening.

But then I saw little bean on the screen, heart beating away, and I knew I was just being silly. And yesterday I heard baby's heartbeat for the first time, at 15 weeks. With just a little bump and not much else to show for it, I was starting to feel a little blue again.

I just had this idea that as soon as you know you're having a baby, everything changes overnight. Now I know it can take a while for things to get going so I've got to be patient and know that bubs will make his or herself known soon enough. And I can't wait.
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The thin blue line


Finding out your expecting is one of the strangest things - all of a sudden, this thin blue changes everything and you realise you are no longer alone.

Although you physically don't change, mentally things just feel different. We found out just after the August bank holiday and it was hard for us to keep the smiles off our faces. Hubs and I were so pleased, having planned it all for a while, and we really didn't know how we would keep it quiet for a few weeks.

We wanted to wait until we had the first scan before telling anyone, so it was our little secret for six weeks. It was nice living in our little bubble but it got harder and harder to keep the news to ourselves.

And now, at 15wks, all of our family and friends know the news and it's the best feeling, particularly as all the initial tests have gone well. No more hiding bump!
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Hello!

Welcome to my blog, To Become Mum - my online diary of my experiences from bump to birth to baby.

I've been an avid reader of other mummy blogs ever since hubs and I decided to start trying for a baby, including the funny and heartwarmingly honest Write Like No One's Watching by the lovely Charlotte (@CharlTaylor). So, now that I am expecting a little bundle of joy in early May 2013, I thought it would be a nice idea to start my own blog, as a way of keeping track of all the changes and excitement over the months ahead.

Also, with my side of the family and many friends living all over the country, I thought this would be a handy way to keep everyone up to date on our progress.

I'll try to post at least once a week and hope to be able to share things I learn along the way.

All comments welcome and I hope you enjoy reading about my journey to mummyhood.

Kelly (and little bean) x
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