September, 2011

Sep 11

Week 31 – fabulous friends and birthday fun

BabyCentre facts
Baby’s weight – about as much as four navel oranges, nearly 1.5kg
Length – 41.1cm, head to heel


This week I celebrated my birthday – my last one before motherhood. It’s bizarre to think that from this point on I will receive birthday cards from ‘my son’ (provided Chris gets his act together!).

My 28th has not come at an ideal time given Chris’ work schedule. He is never home. And even on the weekends he is either in the office or spends all day at the dining table plugged into his laptop.

And it was really starting to take its toll.

Come Monday morning I felt pretty down and really lonely. Never seeing Chris, general baby anxieties and missing my family had gotten to me – that, and the fact that I had had about three hours sleep.

I made it into work around lunchtime. And I am so glad that I went in.

Knowing I had been having a tough time, my wonderful colleagues had arranged a mini baby shower for me (my first!).

Andrea had organised the most amazing cake – strawberry sponge, white chocolate, and baby bottles made from icing – and I relaxed and really celebrated with my friends with (a sip of) champagne.

It was such an incredibly thoughtful gesture and I was so touched by their kindness.

And from that point on, the week took a turn for the better.

Knowing he had to spend the day working, Chris pulled out all the stops for my birthday on Thursday.

He got up super early to make me breakfast – croissants, yogurt with fruit, and orange juice he had squeezed himself – before cards and presents.

Then, after a leisurely morning, I met him for lunch before heading out for an afternoon of shopping under the strict instructions to buy something for myself. (I failed, instead coming home with two towels for the baby).

He then hurried home to make me a special birthday dinner.

That was Thursday. Saturday I headed to a small town just outside Segovia to attend the wonderful wedding of Kath (one of the aforementioned work friends).

It was a beautiful day for two very special people, and despite attending on my own and being 31 weeks pregnant, I celebrated with the best of them, eventually exiting the dance floor at around 3.15am.

The following morning (and hang-over free!), I caught the train back to Madrid in time for lunch with my yummy mummy friend Jeanette and her beautiful baby Amaia.

We spent a brilliant afternoon together, discussing all things baby-related and taking a whistle-stop tour of all her favourite baby shops while still finding time to buy cakes and coo over her beautiful six-month-old.

All in all then, I would say this has been an eye-opening week.

Yes, I miss my family, and yes I miss my UK friends, but I am incredibly blessed by the people who surround me in Madrid.

And so, from my amazing husband and my thoughtful friends at HELLO!, to my fellow dancing queens at the wedding and my pregnancy guru Jeanette – thank you. I don’t know what I would do without you all!

Sep 11

Week 30 – my big baby bump

BabyCentre facts
Baby’s weight – about as big as good-sized cabbage this week, weighing in at 1.3kg
Length – 39.9cm, head to heel


I woke up on Monday morning suddenly looking very pregnant.

Just two weeks ago in the UK, a lady approached me and asked if I would like to attend a wine tasting event, failing to notice that I was seven months pregnant (a no-brainer if I wasn’t expecting!).

She wouldn’t make that mistake now.

Probably for the first time I feel like I have got a proper baby bump; I can’t see my feet anymore, which, by the way, have started to swell up at the end of the day.

And I no longer need to push my tummy out to bag a place on the metro – people see me coming a mile off and immediately give up their seats.

I must admit, I do love my big bump. It is helping me mentally prepare for the fact that I will soon be a mum.

I always imagined that when I found out I was having a baby everything would turn upside down. It hasn’t. Strange as it sounds, thanks to my problem-free pregnancy it’s easy to forget that our son will be here in just two months.

The down-side to my bump is the effect it seems to have on old ladies.

I have absolutely no problem with people I know feeling my tummy, but the novelty of strangers doing the same thing quickly wore off. One elderly woman recently grabbed my stomach with both hands and told me that the doctor was wrong, I am expecting a girl – she could feel it.

Still, baby boy seems cosy enough.

Finally I think we are out of the sharp kicking stage, instead his movements feel more like waves as he rolls around. He is growing at an amazing rate and is running out of room in there – Chris and I can now see each movement he makes, which is actually less freaky than it sounds.

So, it was as a proper pregnant lady that I (incredibly bravely) went along for those dreaded blood tests. Chris came along with me for the first one before he had to go to work (I think he wanted to make sure I didn’t run off).

I did them, and yes, they hurt. I asked to lie down in each one, and by number four I was visibly wincing. But I survived, and I even have the massive bruise to prove it.

Sep 11

Week 29 – the seven month scan

BabyCentre facts
Baby’s weight – almost the size of a butternut squash and weighing just under 1.2kg
Length – 38.6cm, head to heel


Doctors and nurses aside, does anyone ever really feel at ease in a hospital?

I don’t. For starters, there’s the negative connotations we all associate with them – surely having a baby is the only time its ‘good’ to be in one.

And there is something about waiting rooms that brings out all my nervous energy.

I know I am not the only one. I have looked into the eyes of fellow mums-to-be in the maternity unit, and I’ve seen the apprehension as they wait for their names to be called.

Yes, there is definitely tension in that waiting room – that said, I fear that the majority of it stems from me.

I am one of life’s worriers and it’s hard for me not to panic on the day of our monthly scans.

I don’t know why – I have had a brilliant, uncomplicated pregnancy. But I suppose feeling anxious about my son is a natural part of becoming a mother.

The seven-month appointment was no different. I started pacing the room until Chris pointed out that I was making everyone else feel really uncomfortable.

Of course all of my worries disappeared as soon as the scan started.

It’s the most amazing thing to see our son on the screen, and I love to be able to watch him wriggle around… Or not, in this case.

Clearly saving all his energy for his favoured nocturnal activities, our baby boy slept throughout the entire scan.

And I was totally smitten; I have watched the 30 second video of him doing absolutely nothing no less than 30 times.

Our son is a very healthy happy little boy, the doctor said, and everything is progressing perfectly.

That was the good news. He then told me that I had had some “bad” blood tests results following my dreaded diabetes test and that I needed to come in the next week for more.

Turns out that by ‘more’ he means four – in three hours. I cannot think of a less enjoyable way to spend a morning. But I will be brave and think of the bigger picture –it’s becoming my pregnancy mantra.

Sep 11

Week 28 – the final UK visit

BabyCentre facts
Baby’s weight – just over 1kg; close to a Chinese cabbage!
Length – 37.6cm, head to heel


“The next time we see you, you are going to be a mum – can you believe it?!!”

These were the words that followed me round the south of England as I visited family and friends for the last time.

And no, for the record, I can’t quite believe it.

My only trip back to the UK since finding out I was expecting meant that for many it was the first – and conversely the last – opportunity to see ‘the bump’.

I have never felt more pregnant than I did in those eight days.

The excitement over the baby and my ‘blossoming’ tummy was amazing; it’s something that I have really missed out on living away in Madrid. I was treated like a queen.

There was my first spa experience, a treat from best friend Lisa, which included a full body massage. It was a wonderful day, not least because we got to spend at least six hours in dressing gowns.

She and lovely boyfriend Tim even insisted on giving up their double bed for me, sleeping on airbeds during my three day stop-over. Oh, and she painted my toe-nails for me – now that’s a friend.

My godmother set up a sun lounger in her sitting room to help with my back pain – really bad this week – and once in said sun lounger I was not allowed to move as she brought me platters of strawberries and raspberries.

In fact everywhere I went, from my stepmother’s house and my inlaws, to the home Chris’ brother Alex shares with his gorgeous girlfriend Sabrina, I was made to feel so special, and very, very loved.

This affected me in a number of ways. I blame the hormones, but I welled up when Chris and I boarded our plane back to Spain. I miss my family and friends in the UK, and it has not been easy for Chris and I having a baby in a foreign country.

But this is our home now, and we equally feel excited and lucky to have the opportunity to welcome our son in Madrid.

It has also made me far more aware of how imminent parenthood is. Just 12 weeks. When I think of how quickly each Monday morning seems to come round that is absolutely terrifying, and there is still so much to do…

If everything goes to plan, Chris and I are hoping that we will be able to make it back to England sometime over Christmas.

And that will be the next time that I will see 90 per cent of our loved ones… with our baby in tow!

That doesn’t include Lisa of course, whose parting words to me were: “The next time we see each other, you’ll be going into labour.”

Well. If that’s not enough to make a girl cry…

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