NEW BABY 101** I’m going to let you in on a secret…

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As I approach the amazing milestone that is my son’s fifth month anniversary, I can safely say that these five months have been the best of my life. I feel however in the nature of my blog, honesty and the importance of transparency, I let you in on a little secret.

The first three months were the hardest months of my life. It goes without saying that I’ve experienced the highest of the highs, but without a doubt, the lowest of the lows. I’m going to try and explain little what I mean here and to hopefully reassure any new parents that they’re not alone.

There are so many well-documented stories in scripture and online that go into great detail of the most amazing elements of the first few months of having a new baby. The first smile, the first time they roll over, when you manage to crack breastfeeding technique, master tot sleeping through, when they grab your finger… the list goes on. It is without a doubt the most special, incredible time, however I can’t help but feel however that people don’t talk about the other elements of having a new baby that can well and truly rock the boat and pull the rug from under your feet.

Many of my friends have had babies, and they’ve embarked on the incredible journey with their husbands, or long term partners that they’ve gotten to know inside out and have a strong foundation to build their new family on. It is with this foundation that they can find reassurance when there are surprises and bumps along the way, as they know at the heart of it all they love each other and know each other inside out. They just know that this is a high pressure scenario that they’ve spent the last few years working towards.

Whereas my journey is a little different, we’d known each other for four months as friends and only one month as lovers when we found out I was pregnant. We were facing down the barrel of the unknown in terms of everything about each other. We hadn’t even said “I Love you’ yet, even though I knew in my heart that I already did.

Looking back on the last year, almost to the day that we found out we were expecting, we have spent nine months of our relationship pregnant and four months with a new baby. It would be hard for anyone to determine if the bumps in the road and the emotions were a product of an extremely high pressure situation, of it that was our DNA and who we fundamentally were as a couple.

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It is with great relief, that at the other end of the barrel (where the light shines) that we absolutely are the people that we each fell for and that any bumps (some more serous than others) were due to hormones, lack of sleep and massive amounts of pressure for everything to be perfect (which we only put on ourselves). Its easy to think that our situation has been the way it has due to all these factors, however I can safely say that after speaking to friends, and friends of friends that have had children, this is a universal symptom of an amazing life event.

So, if you’re reading this and you’re due to welcome your bundle of joy, or you’re four weeks in and tearing out your hair, or even three months down the line and are worried that this is forever, rest assured you’re not alone and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

When you welcome a beautiful baby to your life, it is without question the most special time. The love you feel is polarising and the determination to give this bundle of joy the best life is overwhelming. ‘Overwhelming’ being the operative word as it is a time so much for your shoulders, and your relationships to bare.

The big secret is… the first three months are fucking HARD WORK. Aside from the beautiful baby that you love more than life itself, here’s a little roll call of what else to expect (that many don’t tell you about, but that everyone that I’ve spoken to has experienced – which beggars the question; “why it isn’t spoken about more”):

  • Lack of sleep (for both of you, whether you’re breastfeeding of formula feeding, your partner will wake up with you despite your best efforts) – Whilst I truly believe that women have a super human hormone that kicks in for the first month that enables you to operate on just two hours sleep, the men aren’t so lucky. With many men only getting two weeks paternity entitlement from their companies, they are coping with 2 hours sleep, plus getting up for work and having their game face on. After the first two weeks you can wake up for the 10th time in the middle of a cluster feed and be physically shaking due to the tiredness, it is a all you can muster to stifle the tears rolling down your cheek to ‘put a brave face on it’. Which brings us swiftly on to my next experience…
  • Lack of communication/ understanding – He’s working full time, you have a little person permanently attached to you. You’re both not sleeping, you’re sore and exhausted and he’s expected to go to work and have the same level of productivity that he did before the arrival of baby. He’s feeling guilty that he’s leaving you both all day, and you’re feeling resentful that he doesn’t understand how hard it is to go from being you, to being ‘mum’. Arguments ensue, pretty fucking bad ones too.
  • Second Guessing – So many comments (from anyone, not just your partner) are misinterpreted as a dig against your skills as a parent, and even the most sincere of actions can be construed as an attack, or ‘point scoring’.  We’re all doing the best job we can do, and most of the time feel like the blind leading the blind, so no, we don’t want to be asked if “the bottle might just be for the best”, or “to try and sleep whilst they sleep” (and face your partner come home from work and loudly do the pots and pans whilst slamming every door as if he’s silently saying with each bang, what the fuck have you been doing all day?!)
  • The infamous ‘Day Five Blues’ – Yeah sure we’ve read about this one, even our midwives has asked us about this and told us to brace ourselves, however no amount of warning can prepare you for the rush of emotion that takes a hold of you. It’s perhaps not surprising that you partner is scared shitless that his missus is a sobbing wreck, when all she’s spoken about the last nine months how this is all she’s ever wanted…
  • Intimacy (or lack of it) – You have a new small person sharing a bedroom with you, they’re attached to your body at least 75% of the day, and the other 25% you’re sleeping. The last thing on your mind (especially after pushing a human being from down below, or being cut open) is being intimate. However whilst you might expect this for the first 4-6 six weeks, to often can go into months rather than weeks (although I do think it’s massively important to make time for each other).

So if you’re experiencing all, some or none of the above, you honestly are not alone. Talk to your friends, be honest with our parter and don’t be afraid to have a good cry! It helps honestly. I can say hand on heart that if you weather the storm, you’ll be on the other side and will eventually laugh about the rows and misunderstandings, even with a bit of fondness… maybe…

 

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The first month – what to expect…

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So I ended up at the hospital for four days in total due to issues with my bladder and having to have a catheter fitted again after having it taken out… ouch!

I loved being in the hospital, we had so many visitors and I loved the nights where I got to spend time with my little bundle of joy all on my own, heaven! In fact on the first night the midwife actually had to take him away from me for an hour at about 4am as I didn’t want to put him down.

It took us three days to decide on a name, we finally decided on Albie James Moore -he’s named after my Grandpa and Ste’s step-dad, our little AJ! Peanut is Peanut no more!

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Albie’s thoughts on having no name for 4 days, ha!

It was so nerve wracking taking Albie home in his car seat for the first time, we didn’t want to make it too tight so he couldn’t breathe and we didn’t want it too slack so that he was fully secured. I don’t think Stephen had ever driven so safe in his life due to our extra precious cargo onboard.

I was told by the midwives to expect a ‘baby blues’ day on day 5/6 due to all the hormones raging around my body – I was so elated that I couldn’t imagine that this could happen to me… how wrong could I be! As I was exclusively breastfeeding we strapped in for a rough ride, I think I got about 2 hours sleep the whole night, but I didn’t mind, I was running on pure adrenaline.  Suffice to say it caught up with me the next day.

The midwife came for her first visit on Friday where he was weighed and she checked my breastfeeding technique, which apparently was perfect, yeah! She also told me about the baby blues and told me to brace myself. We arranged for her to come back again on Monday as I’d only been home a matter of hours.

The day went by in a blur of feeding, nappies and visitors – to say I was exhausted was putting it mildly. Stephen had his two week paternity leave, so was able to provide a massive amount of support. I was still quite tender from my C Section and my time was taken up with feeding little Albie.

That night the baby blues hit me like a brick wall… I had been none stop feeding and was feeling very sore and vulnerable. My boobs were also very sore, I was told that if they hurt that you’re not doing it right, however I call bullshit! When the baby latches on, especially in the first month, it felt to me like he was sucking razor blades through my nipple. I was told to persevere with the first two weeks and that it would get better – I bloody well hoped it would!

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I broke down on Stephen and told him I didn’t want to just be a mum and that I felt like a milling machine. God bless him, he didn’t laugh at me (how he didn’t I have no idea, I must’ve sounded like an irrational idiot). I was so scared that having a baby meant that I would constantly have him attached to my boob, that I would be in content pain and that I’d never feel attractive again.

Stephen was great and just kept reassuring me and telling me I was doing a great job. In my eyes giving up breastfeeding wasn’t an option, I had given up work for at least three months and this was now my full time job, I had no excuse.

Honestly the first two weeks went by in a blur, one part that I do remember massively is when Albie ‘forgot’ to latch. I was trying to breastfeed him from 3pm on the Sunday and he still hadn’t properly latched that night. I finally gave in and phoned the midwife, I was hysterical. She told me to express off some milk so that he had some fluid. I did have reservations about him not being able to go back to the boob, but at this point I just needed to get some fluid into him.

Luckily my mum had bought me a breast pump the day before, so I expressed off 30ml and fed him straight away. The midwife came that morning and concluded that my technique was fine, but as he’d not fed for so long my boobs had become engorged. We resorted to using a nipple shield so that he could latch on (I’d bought some of these in advance on the recommendation of my lovely friend in Australia, who was also breastfeeding and quickly becoming my oracle – thanks Abby!). The midwife told me to keep offering him the nipple each time he needed a feed before resorting to the shield. Thank goodness the next feed he miraculously remembered how to latch and all was well with the world.

It worked out well too as I knew that Albie was able to go seamlessly from the breast to the bottle and back again, so it meant that I could start to express off some of the feeds to allow Stephen to do some of the feeding and for me to have a cheeky glass of vino😉

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Such an over achiever already, ha!

Once we’d overcome this obstacle we were faced with another one, which we were quickly realising is the case with a newborn… he had now started cluster feeding at the beginning of week 3, he literally didn’t stop feeding for 24 hours. It was exhausting! Apparently it is good for increasing your supply, but in all honesty you don’t give a flying f*** about that at the time, ha! Luckily this episode only took 24 hours.

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There’s no way you can be mad with him!

I felt confident with my breastfeeding and it was getting less and less painful, which was a massive relief. Nearly four weeks after Albie was born we had one of my best friend’s weddings. I had initially meant to be a bridesmaid, however when we found out we were expecting Albie, I graciously stood down. The wedding was over the water at the Wirral and we were invited all day. I made the decision to express 3 x breast milk (60ml) feeds in advance and to have 3 x formula feeds (90 ml) and had enlisted my mum to watch Albie for the day with her boyfriend.

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The stunning bride

It felt great to get out for the day and to spend some time with Stephen. As everything had happened so quickly, this was our first date drinking since October! The wedding was absolutely stunning, the bride looked absolutely stunning and we had such an awesome day. I missed Albie massively, yet knew he was in good hands! It was quite funny as I had to take a massive bag with me so I could fit my breast pump in it (I expressed and discarded the milk throughout the day so that my flow wasn’t affected).

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We’d reached the four week milestone and couldn’t be happier, we were just about starting to find our feet in terms of routine and I felt like I’d cracked the breastfeeding.

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C Section – We finally meet Peanut

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The two weeks before the C Section, Stephen and I got a lot of the baby items ticked off our list! To say we’re laid back is somewhat of an understatement! Were so lucky that we had the help and support of our family, and that we received some amazing gifts from our friends to get the ball rolling.

The items that we decided to go ahead with (which I’d totally recommend to anyone looking for a pointer with regards to essentials for a new (first) baby):

  • PramBugaboo Chameleon – We got this as a gift from my mum and granny, it was 849 from Winstanley’s Pram World in Wigan (which was recommended by one of my good friends) and we got the car seat included in the price (worth 200). We also got the isofix adapters so that the seat could go on the pram frame. As we’re moving to Australia we wanted a pram that could be adaptable to different terrains, we also wanted a buggy/ crib option, which would give us the best of both worlds. It’s such a dream to push, the only issue we have is with the storage, which can’t be accessed easily when the crib fitting is being used.
  • Car SeatBeSafe Izi-Go Modular – Midnight Black – We decided to go with this option as opposed to the Maxi Cosi as BeSafe is the regulatory / safety body for the manufacturing of car seats, we felt confident that this would be the best option for us when it came to the safety of the seat. This car seat is the only one that has been tested not only for front and rear imp ace, but for side impact also.
  • Isofix base (for car seat) – When my friend in Aus recommended this, I had no idea what this was – but if you have a car, this is a must have. It makes putting the car seat into the car and taking it lout of the car so much easier. No seat belt required!
  • Co-sleeper CribChicco Next to Me – This was recommended to me by one of my friends in Australia who had just had a baby. I’d never heard of them, but let me tell you that this is one of the best purchases and options for those wanting to opt for co-sleeping.
  • Moses Basket – With Moses baskets, I feel these are a personal choice – all I will say is that if you have a family member or friend that is willing to donate or let you borrow one of theirs, I would do. I completely understand the desire to have everything new when it’s your first baby, however they do grow out of the moses basket at about 3/4 months (depending on how big your baby is). You can however pick up a lovely Moses basket for upwards of 30, so it doesn’t break the bank and they really do come in handy in the first months – especially if you’ve had a C Section and don’t want to be climbing the stairs over and over again.

These are what I feel are the essential ‘big items’ to buy before the arrival of your little one, if you’re breast-feeding (however, if you’re bottle feeding you will need things like sterilisers and bottles etc.)

One of the elements that I had ZERO clue about was the hospital bag, I didn’t know what was too much, too little, essentials and ‘nice to have’… However now I’ve been there and done that so to speak, here’s what I’ll say is best to take:

For Baby:

  • 4 x vests (short sleeve) – for throw up allowance
  • 4 x sleep suits
  • 1 x hat (to put on once born)
  • 1 x babygrow (to put on once born)
  • 1 x pack of new born nappies (Mamia from Aldi are the best)
  • 1 x pack of cotton wool
  • 1 x natural baby wash (paraben and alcohol free)

For mum:

  • Comfy PJs (with nursing option if breastfeeding)
  • Packet disposable knickers
  • Packet of pregnancy pads
  • 2 x pack of chunky socks (some painkillers can make your feet feel v cold)
  • Cardigan
  • 2 x loose fitting outfits (one size bigger than normal dress size) – I went for leggings, cami and loose fitting nursing jumper
  • Lanolin – if breastfeeding for your nipples (lifesaver)
  • Nice body lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Shower gel (its mad how much a nice shower after giving birth can make you feel better!)
  • Face wipes
  • Phone charger
  • hair tie/ head band
  • Towel (hospitals don’t provide these)

So now I’ve given you my hospital bag 101, I’ll tell you about my amazing experience welcoming Peanut into the world.

Our booking time was 8am, so we set off from home at 7am as the drive is about 40 minutes away. I didn’t feel nervous at all, I was just so excited to meet my little bundle. I think it helped as I’ve had four major abdominal surgeries before, I kind of knew what to expect from a recovery perspective and the thought of a spinal didn’t phase me.

Upon arrival at the hospital my best friend Sophie met us, she was my midwife and would be in theatre with me. It felt so reassuring knowing that she was looking after us. We were shown to our bed on the ward, but advised that we would be provided with a private room (the perks of being bests with the midwife!). The team told us that I was the only C section that day (4th July 2016), so that I should be in by 9am. I was told to put the hospital gown on and wait for them to come and grab me.

Stephen and I sat and chatted and were very relaxed. I think Stephen was more nervous than me, but didn’t let me see it.

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We found out that a lady had had complications with her birth that morning and had to go to theatre, so we actually ended up waiting until about 10:30.

When they came to get me, I felt nothing other than excitement that I was going to meet Peanut very soon.

Once we got to the theatre, Stephen was taken to ‘scrub up’ and I was taken to have the spinal. The room was filled with lots of people, but was v calm and the radio was on. I remember noting how relaxed it was and how it filled me with ease.

Now a lot of people asked me if the spinal hurt, honestly I didn’t feel anything. There was pressure at the bottom of my spine, but definitely not pain. Once I’d had the spinal I was told to lie down. They did a test with cold water to make sure I couldn’t feel anything, it was so surreal as I could feel it on my breast but then it disappeared. I remember being worried as I could wiggle my toes, but the anaesthetist (who was amazing BTW) laughed and said I wasn’t giving birth through my toes, ha!

Once I’d lied down they put the screen up so that I couldn’t see what was happening the ‘business end’ and Stephen sat beside me. Sophie popped around to say hello and I gave the other midwife, who was also a friend, my phone to document the birth.

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I did have a little wobble when the began, my blood pressure dropped and I felt very faint and sick, however a quick dose of an anti sickness drug into my canular soon put that to rest.

Throughout the whole process I was kept informed, the surgeon was just amazing and I felt totally at ease with him. Sophie told me he was the best in at what he does, so I had no reservations at all.

The next thing I remember is my anaesthetist telling me that I’d feel pushing and pulling as they pulled Peanut out, however I felt absolutely nothing. Some people say it feels like washing up in your stomach, but honestly I didn’t feel a thing.

One moment later Stephen was standing up to see Peanut be delivered, he turned to me and told me he was a boy – I was just in awe, it didn’t seem real.

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Sophie shouted over that he was gorgeous and perfect. Before I knew it he was all wrapped up next to me. I looked at Stephen and we knew in that moment that this was our little family, just amazing. On the radio was M People, Moving on Up, which tickled me.

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They put Peanut on me for skin to skin contact, all at once I felt complete. I’m not going to lie and say it was like the movies with sunshine and rainbows, but it was pretty special thinking that this little bundle of joy was mine.

Little Peanut was born at 11:06am and weighed 6lb 10oz.

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They gave Peanut to Stephen to take to recovery as they operated on my dermoid (cyst) on my ovary – again they talked me through the whole process and I was reassured that they were able to drain it and preserve all of my ovarian tissue, phew!

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In recovery I was reunited with Peanut and had more skin-on-skin contact, Sophie even tried to get him to breastfeed, he didn’t latch the first time, but definitely had the instinct.

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Once we’d been in recovery for 30 minutes, we were taken back to the ward whilst we waited for our room to be ready.

It was so surreal being wheeled back to the ward with our baby, such a special feeling. Whilst back in the bay I decided to have another go at breastfeeding and after a few false starts he latched on, it was literally the most amazing feeling in the world and it literally was sunshine and rainbows. I remember ‘What a Wonderful World’ being on the radio and that was the song that I knew I’d remember forever.

At 3pm our room became available and I got ready for my first night on my own as a mum – amazing!

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When I first found out that I had to have a C Section I was absolutely gutted, however I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life and that I wouldn’t change it for the world.

One chapter closes, a new one opens…

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This is the part of the blog that I was so nervous about writing, all will transpire as you read on…

Whilst waiting for my bundle of joy to arrive I had so much to look forward to, I was back in the UK with my family and I wanted to take full advantage of them being only a short car journey away (as opposed to a 24 hour flight!).

I decided that I was going to go against tradition and arrange my own baby shower, I’m a massive control freak and as this whole pregnancy was such a surprise I wanted to make sure that all my family and friends were invited.

My dad and step mum kindly let me use their house for the baby shower, they have a lovely back garden that would just be the best setting.

I invited my close friends and family to come along, but was really gutted that my mum and granny couldn’t make it as they were in Spain. It was ok though as I knew we’d make up for it when Peanut arrived.

One of the things I was most thrilled about was that my Nana could come! My dad’s mum means the absolute world to me and helped to bring me up, she lost my grandpa only 7 months previous and had been struggling, so I hoped that this might cheer her up as I knew how excited she was about the impending arrival.

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The baby shower was just the most special day, it was sunny and I was surrounded by so many people that I love. I was showered with so many special gifts and was blown away by everybody’s generosity.

I left the games element up to my guests and they sure didn’t disappoint! My favourite was the ‘baby grow’ game, where each team of four had to create a ‘designer baby grow’ to win an exclusive prize. As you can see from above, I have some pretty talented friends.

I decided to pick the baby grow that had a kangaroo on it and the words ‘ Oz or UK, it will be ok!’ – It meant so much to me, as it was playing on my mind that I would be whisking Peanut all the way back around the world again in six month’s time. I was thrilled when I found out that it was my Nana’s team that had designed that baby grow, I knew it was their way of showing how much they support me.

One of the great things about being back in the UK is that I get to attend some of my family and friend’s big life occasions, hell there are three weddings that we’ve been invited to in the UK this summer. The first of the weddings was Stephen’s sister’s wedding, which was taking place two weeks after the baby shower. I was so excited as it meant that I’d get to meet some of Stephen’s family that I hadn’t met yet, and of course to celebrate Yvonne’s special day.

As with so many moments in my life, things never go as planned and things seem to happen when I least expect them, leaving me feeling like a rug has been pulled from under my feet…

It was the day before Yvonne’s wedding and Stephen and I were in Liverpool shopping for Stephen’s suit and I got a call from my dad. My nana had been taken ill in the week and was gravely ill at Wigan Infirmary – my dad explained that she was having trouble breathing and that she was in intensive care. Stephen and I rushed to be by her bedside that evening. We knew that we had Yvonne’s wedding the next day and I was now heavily pregnant and my pain from my adhesions had gotten even worse – to the point I couldn’t drive on my own. I got a chance to speak to my nana and give her a hug and a kiss and told her I’d be back on Monday morning.

The wedding was stunning and Yvonne looked beautiful, however I couldn’t help but think of my nana all day.

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I received a phonecall at 2pm from my brother, who explained that they had made the difficult decision to stop the oxygen – I was absolutely devastated, but understood the reasons and that we didn’t want her to be in pain anymore. He told me that she was stable and that all the family were there and to not worry.

The next morning I raced to the hospital with Stephen, however five minutes before we got there she had sadly passed away. It was like we’d been hit by a rock, my nana, the matriarch of our family had gone, only two weeks before our planned c-section and arrival of Peanut. We were completely in shock.

Despite the awful circumstances, I was happy that my nana and my grandpa would be together again. My family also reassured me that nana finding out about me having Peanut and meeting Stephen had made her some happy in the past six months and that she couldn’t have been happier for me and our future family.

I wont go into details about the send off we gave her, but I will say that we gave her the goodbye that she deserved.

The two weeks before the c-section, Peanut’s arrival, were again – the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. It truly brought to the fore the sentiment of the saying that as one chapter closes, another one opens.

I am so lucky to have had a lady like my nana in my life, she has tight me so much and had helped to make me the person that I am today, for that I am forever thankful and will have the memories for a lifetime.

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For my Nana Mary and Grandpa Albert – you’re with us always in our hearts and our thoughts. x

 

The last Trimester – Trials, Tribulations and Terrific Times

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We got back from Spain and I decided that I was going to do some freelance work for a couple of PR agencies in Manchester. I wanted to ensure that I still had my independence and also, that I was able to contribute to the house and living expenses. I was still doing one day a week of the PR agency in Sydney and was also remotely running Sydney Social 101 with the help of my amazing team.

I was all registered with the hospital in the UK, I’d decided to go for Warrington Hospital as my best friend is a midwife there and I wanted her to be there. I thought it would make such a special moment for the impending arrival of peanut.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I knew that I had to have a C section due to my history, and was absolutely gutted at first. However now I’d had time to come to terms with it by this point and was actually looking forward to the whole experience. When I’d spoken to friends ho had given birth to their little ones naturally about my reservations they’d immediately told me their birth stories (some more gory than others) and put my mind to rest that the most important thing was that Peanut arrived safely.

I found it hard juggling working and being heavily pregnant, only because I’d been used to working from 8am  -11pm everyday in Sydney and it being done in my stride, to struggling to draft a press release and a timeline in a day. My mind wasn’t now just focusing on work and I found myself having to really ‘cash in’ on my power hours, when I felt like I could take on the world, as I knew that as quickly as they’d come, they’d go and I’d just want to curl up on the sofa with my little Lou dog.

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I don’t know about you guys, but I really struggled with the guilt of not having a much energy… I felt like Stephen might be wondering what it was that I did all day. After a few days of feeling that away however I came to terms with the fact that I was in my third trimester of pregnancy, I was experiencing pain from adhesions from previous surgeries and that my rest was just as important as putting on a load of washing. I did find my groove after a few failed attempts and tried to not put too much pressure on myself. Hell I was growing a freaking human, and if that isn’t a pretty big achievement to check off in a day’s work, then I don’t know what is!

As much as my energy levels were lower, I did feel like I thrived when I went to business meetings and trips to London. It made me feel like I was still me and not just ‘pregnant Lisa’. I think it is really important to keep doing what you love and what makes you you (within reason) during your pregnancy and into motherhood, as having a baby needed turn your life upside down, it’s about adapting and prioritising. Another thing that I think is so important is to not be so hard on yourself. I’d have days were I’d break down in floods of tears as I’d be scared that I wouldn’t be a good mum, that I was being a weak pregnant lady, or that Stephen would think I wasn’t coping. One thing is for sure, we all do the best job that we know how to.

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Some days I’d bake a pie for Stephen and I and I’d feel like I could do anything… other days I wouldn’t lift my head off the sofa and would only achieve my goal of catching up with trash TV.

I think it’s also really important to treat yourself and to take the time for you, I made sure I still got my nails down and that I kept onto of my hair. I also wanted to make sure I treated Stephen too. All too often the ladies can get all of the fuss and attention and I worried that Stephen would feel left out. I decided to create a ‘Daddy Survival Kit’ to help him once Peanut made his arrival on the scene… I also decided to treat Stephen to a Go Pro Session camera to capture all of the moments on film of our family for us to look back on.

Here’s the dad’s survival kit in all its glory, it was so much fun to make and I was so excited to give it to him (I decided to give this to Stephen the week before Peanut’s arrival).

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The kit contained all the ‘essentials’ that Ste will need to be the best dad in the world such as:

Coffee – To keep him awake after long nights

Clothes Peg – To keep the smells away when changing nappies

Eye drops – To make him look awake

Duck wash glove – For bath time fun

Electrolites – To keep hydrated

Sweets – For the sweetest dad ever

Mints – To keep it fresh

Note pad – To jot down memories

Wetwipes – To stay clean

As the date of my Caesarean drew closer emotions were running high, so I made sure that I was open with my thoughts and feelings with Stephen. This definitely helped us when it came to getting ourselves prepared together as a solid couple.

Stay tuned for the baby shower that meant everything to me and the true definition of the highest of the highs and lowest of the lows.

Heading on a plane to Spain for our ‘babymoon’

pregnant Lisa

Sorry I’ve been awol, I have SO much to update you on. However in keeping with the time line of the blog and to get you up to speed, I’ll fill you in on the last two months of my pregnancy🙂

It was great for Ste and I to head to Spain, the stresses of the house were getting to us and Stephen had of course been working since I’d arrived from Australia, so it was nice knowing that for the next week I’d be able to spend some quality time with him. Also, I was super excited to introduce Ste to my granny, and for him to get to know my mum a bit better.

mum

Due to the whirl wind nature of our romance, it added a lot of pressure onto us in terms of introducing each other to our families and friends – hell Stephen’s mum found out that he was having a baby with a women she’d never met, same for my granny with Ste. My granny is so important to me, she helped to raise me and I have so much respect for her. It meant the world to me that she’d like him, so I was pretty nervous.

I think many people that we know had there reservations (which I totally understand) about the speed at which Ste and I were going and had concerns that we were jumping in feet first (which we totally were of course). I knew though, that from my family and friend’s perspective that as soon as they met him they’d totally be put at ease and ‘get it’.

This was absolutely true of my granny, she was the person that was the most vocal about her concerns, however as soon as she met Ste when we got to my mum’s villa in Villa Martin, she was put at ease immediately.

grannie

Over he course of the week we chilled by the pool, went out for dinners, Ste had drinks with my step dad (I was soba of course due to little peanut), we went to Northern Soul nights where my mum was DJing and even went to a beach party.

me and ste

It was such a great trip and it was amazing for Ste and I to just relax and enjoy each other’s company again with no pressures. We didn’t stop laughing the whole time and in a way it brought us back to just me and him and why were keen to do this together as ultimately we are best friends who fancy the pants of each other🙂

pregnant Lisa

I would recommend a ‘baby-moon’ to anyone who is about to have their first child, amongst all the trials and tribulations (read hormones, twinges, bloating and everything else) of pregnancy, it gives you and our partner the time to step back and enjoy each other again before your bundle of joy arrives and turns life s you know it on its head…

 

A Change of Pace

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So what had initially started as a six-week trip had turned into a potential six-month trip to ensure that our family had the best start in life. In addition to reliving pressure, it also gave us a chance to actually start enjoying the pregnancy as a couple and not worry about more time apart.

The only thing was that it meant that I’d be apart from my lovely Sprite down under, who was due a week before me. This was the single biggest downside to our decision, but made it all the more exciting for when we were heading back down under.

It was all a big change for me, I’d gone from a party girl running Sydney Social 101 and being a senior consulting publicist, living on my own in Bondi and living by my rules. I’d never lived with a boy before, so this was a new experience for me too.

Let me be clear, there hasn’t been one single moment that I’ve thought I’ve taken the wrong path or have found myself doubting that this was the absolute right thing to do. I find myself counting my blessings that I’ve met someone like Stephen, that I’ve been able to get pregnant despite all my previous surgeries and that we’re in such a fortunate position. What I do find funny and hard to get my head around is what an absolute difference a year can make. The baby is due literally a year (almost to the day) that fate brought us together on the plane.

If you had said to me a year ago that I’d be living back in the UK (albeit temporarily), that I’d be living with my partner who I was completely in love with and that I’ve have a baby on the way, to put it simply I would’ve called you a liar (in the nicest possible way of course).

I guess that part of what I’ve found the most difficult in my transition from my Sydney life as a ‘socialite’ and running a start up – the time that I now have on my hands.

Here’s a typical day for my in Sydney:

8am – Wake up, check e-mails, make coffee, have a shower. Head out for first meeting of the day, log onto WIFI at a nice café, check emails again, respond t event invites, editorial opportunities and manage my team. Head to a lunch meeting, go to FIshburners and do some new business for the VIP 101 Cards, attend any meetings with client leads, final check of emails before heading to that evening’s event (whether it be a film premiere, launch of a new bar/ restaurant/ birthday party or fashion/ beauty launch). Head home about 10:30 – sleep, repeat

bondi abode
My Bondi abode
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Watching VIP exclusive Mark Ronson gig on The Island in the middle of Sydney Harbour
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Attending Belvedere winter ball at The Star as a VIP
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Attending the polo in the city event

I absolutely love my Sydney life, but perhaps didn’t realise how much I had on my plate. The above doesn’t take into consideration if I was consulting to an agency, or if I had my own PR clients to factor in also. Upon some reflection, I maybe was taking too much on and drowning in my own to-do list, but also feel like I operate at my best when I’m under pressure. When you compare to my new routine, you might understand why I was struggling with, dare I say it… boredom…

 

 

 

7am – Wake up, Ste has a shower, I check e-mails that have come through over night from Aus, I make us coffee and breakfast before Ste has to leave at 8am. I have a shower, get dressed. If it’s a day that I’m consulting to a PR agency here in UK I check my emails and do two hours selling in and email follow up/ PR proposal drafting. It’s now 1pm and I do the washing (if there is any, if not I find some), clean the kitchen. Go to the shops to get food in, take Louie for a walk. It’s now 3pm if I’m lucky, so I check my work emails again and action anything. Watch some trash TV and wait for Ste to come home. Cook dinner, have a few hours with Ste (which is the highlight of my day), have a bath if my adhesions are playing up to reduce the pain and then bed.

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Walking my gorgeous Lou Dog on Crosby Beach

 

Sure you can see quite the difference here. I fear though that I might have tried to much to fill my days as I now consult 10 days a month to PR agencies here in the UK and still do 4 days a month for the PR agency in Aus, whilst also still running SS101 (however my amazing team do much of this for me ‘on the ground’), so I’ve now also tried to build up Manchester and London Social 101 too – All whilst being 6/7 months pregnant, attending new business meetings in London and also being in a new relationship. Stephen worries that I’m taking too much on, which I totally get, however I fear it’s just in my blood to have the need to feel busy.

Oh I almost forgot too… we’re also doing up Ste’s house in preparation for the impending arrival of our little one, whilst also trying to make time for our relationship and families.

We did come to blows a couple of times as I got frustrated with feeling the house was top of list of priorities, when I just wanted to spend time with my partner after spending so much apart. I had to ask myself a lot whether I was acting rationally, or if it might be my pregnancy hormones making me be unreasonable. Luckily Ste is amazing and listens to me, but also tells me if he feels I’m not being fair. Its a good balance and it means that we can chat through any potential issues or frustrations before they become anything more.

It was a welcome break when we decided to head to Spain at the end of April to spend time with my mum and grannie, as the house, my work and everything else seemed to take president over Stephen and I spending quality time together.