Henry is now 5 weeks old and as everyone says, we can’t believe where the time has gone! We’ve had a fantastic month getting to know our beautiful Son who has grown and changed so much already! He has been a hungry boy and the weeks have been dominated by feeding and little sleep!

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Myself & Henry, aged 2 weeks.

If you are approaching parenthood, then I am sure you have lists and ideas coming out of your ears of what you will need to get for your baby’s arrival, so I thought I would share with you a few of the things which have got us through the blur of the last 5 weeks and the items we use all the time.

A compact changing bag;

We don’t leave the house without it!! I wanted something which was unisex for both Stuart and I to take out separately and to suit the sex of our yet unknown baby. After lots of deliberations we eventually settled with this Cath Kidston polka dot bag.

It is not too big and yet holds everything I need, including the endless amount of muslins I collect along the way! It has 3 internal pockets for spare clothes & bibs an additional bag for the changing essentials and an easy to grab change mat on the outside.

SPOT ZIP CHANGING BAG

Lansinoh Nipple cream;

Breast feeding was a learning curve for both myself and Henry and he didn’t latch on for the first couple of days making it very painful and sore while we were trying. As time went on he suddenly turned into an expert and was constantly feeding – also sore for me! I was delighted he was feeding ok and was happy to latch him on every hour to begin with and he soon regained the pound that he lost early on. I was so pleased to have been given Lansinoh Lanolin cream by a friend at my baby shower, it was a complete lifesaver and it got me through the pain! I still use it now as Henry has a habit of yanking my nipple around in all directions sometimes and it’s always good to have in the cupboard for his growth spurts and those hourly feeds!

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Baby wipes;

I discovered Derma H2O wipes through a sample and I haven’t turned back! They are almost 100% water so they are so gentle for Henry’s newborn skin, which is 5 times thinner than my own. Henry has very active bowels (probably due to his insatiable appetite!) and we’ve found he has had nappy rash a few times and the wipes really help clean him during changes without putting any chemicals on his sensitive botty! If you, like me, want to use something as gentle as cotton wool and water but want the convenience of a wipe, then have a look at their website for info on their great products www.waterwipes.com

WaterWipe baby wipe logo copy WaterWipes 9 packs of 60 wipes

Gro Bags;

Recommended by so many friends these little sleeping bags help us through night times, available in many different togs they are perfect all year round. The site has a useful chart to help you decide how many other layers to put your little one in. We also love the Gro Egg room thermometer to get us through the paranoid early days of whether the room was too hot, too cold etc! It’s simple but cleverly designed nightlight changes colour to let you know how the temperature is as well as a digital display.

Gro bag Gro Egg

It’s worth a mention that there are some great swaddle blanket brands out there which can really help settle babies as it keeps them nicely wrapped up and feeling secure.

Selection of vests, baby grows and muslins;

I will write more on clothing as we go along as I have discovered some fab brands already, but for now I will say we have a big selection of soft cotton clothing, sometimes 3-4 outfits a day depending on how many explosions (either end!) we have!! Don’t stock up too much because your little one will be out of it before you know it – cliche but true! Next, Mothercare and many others all have built in scratch mittens with their baby grows which are really handy for those nails which do so much damage with the uncontrolled arms flapping all over the place! Muslins have found their way into every corner of most rooms in the house – and for good reason!! They are perfect for any sicky spills, or dribbles, laying down on the changing mat to stop the cold shock of being laid down on it. How ever many you think you need, double it! (We had around 30 on the last count!)

Babygrow

Nappies;

By far the best brand we have come across – and this is echoed by so many of my friends, are Asda Little Angels. It’s very rare we get leaks with these ones unlike some other very well known brands, due to their design, shape and material, and they are a third of the cost! Definitely stock up on these, I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

Nappies

Olive Oil;

Multi purpose for newborn skin. Try and stay away from lotions and potions in the first few weeks (we still haven’t used them) because no matter how “gentle” they are, they will still contain ingredients which are harsh on your newborn’s skin. Olive oil can be applied to the dry scaly skin your newborn may have (after being in that water balloon for 9 months coming out is a bit of a shock for his skin), massaged on after bath time, and applied to his scalp to help with cradle cap – the sebum glands begin to work from around week 2 and they can get blocked, so adding oil to them really helps clear them.

Olivve Oil

Moses basket;

We have a lovely rocking one from Mothercare which shockingly he already looks like he is getting too big for!

Moses

Bare in mind this list is for a newborn, it won’t take long before other things will over take and dominate our must have lists so keep an eye out for the next instalment!

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Bath time for our little boy, 2 weeks old.

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I wanted to share with you my birth story, purely because while I was going through it I was constantly Googling for similar stories to make sure I wasn’t the only one to be going through what I was, and hopefully if anyone is in my position and they come across this blog they will feel the same amount of comfort as I did with what I was reading. I realise my birth story might be a little too much information in parts and it’s also awfully long, but I was so desperate to know other ladies had gone through a similar experience so hopefully this will help anyone else in my position.

I was due on Monday 6th May, I was adamant I would give birth a week early, so with my mind set on that and it passing with no sign of a baby the delay already felt like a lifetime of waiting!

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My last few days of being pregnant!

It all started at 4.14am on Wednesday, 8th May. I had gone to bed with a headache after going for one of our many walks to try to start labour (I’m pretty confident I can say from my experience that walking did not help kickstart my labour whatsoever, but it was good to take my mind off of the fact that I was STILL PREGNANT I guess!) I woke up with very mild period pains and needed a wee desperately (no change there of course!) I laid awake with the pains beginning to feel like they were progressing in strength. To describe these early pains I would say they were like a really intense period pain for around 20 seconds and then they would entirely disappear for around 8 minutes where I wouldn’t feel anything and felt like maybe I had imagined the pain because there was nothing in the gap between. Then after 8 minutes I would get another short sharp pain and realise actually no, this is definitely happening!

At half 6 I told Stuart to go ahead and go off to the gym as the pains were so erratic now and no longer always every 8 minutes I knew it wouldn’t progress quickly enough to be a problem if he weren’t there immediately. They were becoming longer in length but the gap between would be all over the place…I knew I was still in for a long wait.

Thursday came and went and still there was no sign of baby. From 10pm they had returned with a vengeance and they didn’t stop until 7am when they tailed off a bit – it was so frustrating as I really thought that might have been it as they were constant all night. This pattern continued for days and I would find myself really struggling to cope with the pain and the now lack of sleep. By midnight on Saturday they were back to every 10 minutes again all through the night and at 8.45am having been up all night again I found it really hard to relax in between the pains. I succumbed to the pain and had some paracetamol which surprisingly seemed to take the edge off, perhaps because they were the first I had taken throughout the whole of my pregnancy; they would vary from every 5/7/9 minutes and last around 40 seconds. I used a contractions timer app on my phone which helped me track it and in a way it was good to keep my mind occupied on timing them.

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Messing around with Jess our midwife.

Monday came and we had our sweep booked in, as soon as I left the GP’s surgery at 4pm they came thick and fast and I really thought it was show time (Oh, speaking of which, I had a show on the Wednesday before, so if you have yours this isn’t always a sign that you will have your baby imminently, mine was a whole week before) But by the time we got home and Stuart had made dinner my contractions were every 4 minutes. I had a bath to ease the pain, but frustratingly this really slowed everything down to 7 minutes again which was so disheartening. At 11pm we went up to bed despite the pain being really intense but at 2am I stopped being able to cope with the pain at home with just my TENS, water and paracetamol so at 3.30am Stuart took me up to the hospital and I hoped that they would not turn me away!

After being hooked up to the monitor I was examined at 4.15am and was told I was only 2-3cm, they let us stay as it was really quiet up at the hospital and at 5.30am my waters broke. There was so much of it, it just kept on coming! Every contraction more would gush out I couldn’t believe how much there was. (This actually continued right up to a few hours before he was born!)

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Just before my waters went.

At 9am on Tuesday 14th we were sent home because much to my dismay I wasn’t progressing past 3cm. I found I was getting chest pains every contraction so I stopped using the TENS machine, as I can’t take codeine I was just back to the now pretty ineffective paracetamol. Without the waters to cushion each contraction I found them so unbearable, I was also so exhausted at this point I really just wished the baby would arrive. We were booked in for an augmentation on Weds at 8am because my waters had broken and they don’t let you go too long after this happens. By 10pm though I had reached my limit and had to go back in to the hospital.

Stuart wasn’t allowed to stay as I still hadn’t progressed past 3cm but I was so distressed with the pain they let me stay over night and gave me Pethadine to help me sleep. I found this didn’t help me whatsoever and the pain was still so intense but the couple of minutes in between each one I could feel I was on something, I tried a bath and at around 4am I was still walking the halls and felt like I was climbing the walls with the pain so they tried Diazepam again to help me sleep and that didn’t seem to have any affect on me either!

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Just before I started pushing.

By 8am I was desperate to go into the delivery suite. Stuart and I had discussed it and decided that I would ask for an epidural; something that was my absolute last resort on my birth plan as I was really desperate to have a water birth and I was concerned about the link epidurals had to an assisted delivery with forceps or caesarean which I really didn’t want. The midwives didn’t even push back on me and agreed to organise one for me straight away. I was also put on a Syntocinon drip to speed up the dilation of my cervix (still ruddy 3cm!!) due to my waters breaking over 24 hours previously. By 11am on Weds 15th I was all hooked up to my various drips and wires and with the pain slowly dissipating and the sun filling the large delivery suite I finally began to enjoy this wonderful experience.

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All hooked up and ready to go!

After a final examination they told me baby Jarvis was back to back, which was why I wasn’t dilating on my own and why the pain was more intense than a cephalic presentation, but the Syntocinon soon got to work on the dilation and by 5pm I was told I was 9cm – HURRAH, at last we thought we would never get there!!! Throughout the day I would stop the epidural top up so I could still feel the pain but was able to manage it a lot better and by 6pm I was told I was all ready to start pushing, by which point the epidural had completely gone from my system so I could really feel what I was doing and when the right times were to push. I was scared about how much this would hurt with just gas and air, but the pushing part was a walk in the park compared to the contractions! I guess because you’re pushing away the pain and pushing against it. I sat up with a midwife on both legs pushing back on them (as glamorous as it sounds!!) and I gave a determined 5 pushes per contraction, and at 6:42pm Stuart and I watched in awe as the most amazing experience of watching our child born occurred right in front of our eyes. It was unbelievable and I can still see it now. Unfortunately he wasn’t breathing when he came out, as they explained later; because his whole body came out while the head was still crowning the motions didn’t quite clear his chest of mucas as it would do normally so they had to whisk him away to the re-suss trolley, but not before Stuart cut the cord and announced to me that we had ourselves a Son – I was thoroughly gobsmacked with the happy surprise as I was so sure we were having a girl. After what felt like a lifetime, but was in fact only around 20 seconds I imagine, baby Henry James Jarvis was brought back over to us looking pink and shocked and utterly mesmerising!

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birth-story

I would like to think that if I hadn’t had such a long latent phase I would have coped a lot better with the pain, but the amount of days I was in continuous pain with barely any sleep really affected how I managed the pain in the end. But what I would say is that you don’t get a certificate at the end of it for not accepting the drugs, and on the day I really got to enjoy my experience and loved every second of that very magical day that we got to meet our Son, so don’t feel you’re a failure if you also have pain management drugs.

Thank you to my darling husband who was absolutely brilliant throughout the day, in fact for the whole 32 weeks, and was so supportive, and the fantastic midwife team at Basingstoke hospital “Jess and Jess” our dream team 🙂

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Leaving the hospital to begin our new adventure as parents.

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Sorry I have been MIA for a little while…I have been busy having a baby!! Finally, 9 long days after my due date we got to meet our beautiful baby BOY! It was a huge surprise and utterly magical as I was adamant we were having a girl most of the way through my pregnancy. The surprise on the day was amazing and I loved the excitement of not finding out, not just for us, but for everyone else who were all kept guessing until the day!

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A very tired Mummy, more than 48 hours with no sleep.

Eventually, after a very long latent stage, the day of the birth was fantastic and I will write up my birth story soon to share my experience with those who are interested. (I tried to read as many as possible when I was going through the early stages so I knew I wasn’t alone with what I was going through!) But I wanted to update you on the news and share a few of the first moments we have had with our darling little boy.

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Skin to Skin with Daddy a few minutes old.

Weighing 8lb 3oz (with super long limbs!) Henry was born on Wednesday 15th May at 18:42.

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First family snap.

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After a tour of the house, Daddy settles Henry in to life at home.

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Walk in the sun on the first day at home.

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Here’s us at a close friend’s wedding, day 10.

Now, 2 weeks in our little man is growing and gaining weight well after a slow start and we are learning on the job how to be parents. He has been such a good little boy so far and we are so proud of him.

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As the time went on, I realised more & more that I wanted to capture my pregnancy on film before the baby arrived. Despite feeling pretty fat and unattractive I knew if I didn’t then I would regret it. A close friend of mine has a fab hair and make up business and also offers wedding and maternity photography and I knew she was the only person I wanted to (quite literally) bare all to! She made me feel at ease with the camera and knew exactly what shots to take to show off my bump and not my insecurities, giving me prints which I could look back on and cherish.
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I decided to have my shoot at 8 months, so my bump was big enough, but I wasn’t feeling too ginormous and suffering from water retention – even if I felt like I had a few too many chins!! So make sure you choose the right time to suit you. Confidence is key for a happy shoot, so you don’t want to be worried about stretch marks or water retention; your photographer should make you feel at ease and work around your insecurities rather than highlighting them.
Stripy Bump
Lighting in photography really makes the image, and it’s especially true for pregnancy photography. A good photographer will use the light to reflect the emotion and theme of the shot you require. A soft natural light will create a flattering image and if you want to show off your bump in underwear for example, using a sheer, voile type material to cover you will create a soft cover for any insecurities whilst showing your bump off.
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Before your shoot have a think about any props you might like to give your photographer to incorporate – do you know the name/sex of your baby? Can you create a sign to include this? Or post IT notes with all your name choices? Maybe a balloon with the sex or name written on it, or a chalk board with the due date? Have you already bought your baby’s first toy which you could incorporate? Or some tiny baby shoes? Would your partner like to be involved? Do you have other children who you could include? Maternity shots with siblings make for wonderful pics.
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Have you got a favourite outfit – if any of your clothes still fit! Depending on what you have pre-organised take a selection of options with you to change into on the day. There are so many options, so if you want to have creative input then have a think about them before hand and share with your photographer at your consultation.
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It’s really important to mention that even if you categorically think a maternity shoot isn’t for you, in 10 years time when you look back you may really wish you had put your insecurities aside and have captured your blossoming self – even if you don’t show any one I bet you will pleased you did it and your photographer will bring out the best in you, even if you feel tired, fat, nauseous or terrible so you are sure to be pleasantly surprised at how good you look! When your children are all grown up they will love to see you carrying them all those years ago too!
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If you want to capture your pregnancy similarly to this then contact Emma either on her website, http://www.emmatrotman.co.uk or on her Facebook – Emma Trotman Photography. She is based in Hampshire and will discuss your options and give you a consultation to make sure you are given a package to suit you, to make sure you get the best images for what you are looking for while making you feel at ease and happy on the day. Let her know that you found her details via my blog.
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I often get told off by my friends when I talk about what I’ve bought recently, or if I am going shopping – and I can kind of see their point now, with just a couple of days of pregnancy to go 😉 (Or so I hope!) However the truth is, from my point of view pregnancy is a time where you are not yourself, that your body changes in ways you’ve never experienced and you don’t feel in control of what you look like – certainly in my experience anyway! So you need to feel good in what you’re wearing, and if going shopping helps you feel good about your appearance then surely you can’t deny yourself?! Plus, 7-9 months is a long time (when you factor in the weeks after you give birth if you’re not one of the lucky ones to snap back into your pre-preg clothes) and I wouldn’t go 9 months without shopping normally, so why stop now?!

Whether you are of the same opinion as me or not – and after all, these views are only my own ramblings so I don’t expect you to agree, your body shape is going to change considerably and you will need at least a few essentials to grow with your changing figure so here’s my top 10 list of clothes to get you through this exciting time!

Just to note, I found a lot more choice and options online and the selections would be updated a lot more often than in store. I also had a work wardrobe to buy for, so depending on your needs your list may differ from the below. I have also been pregnant mainly over the winter months so I didn’t stock up on summer clothes, although now it seems like it’s just around the corner I would definitely be stocking up on Maxi dresses and mid length jersey skirts to team with vest tops and cut off denim jackets or a leather jacket for cooler days.

Summer Days

A few pairs of good quality jeans – key for so many occasions. I found some great choices from Topshop in a good selection of colours. Dress them up or down depending on what you’re doing, a pair of heels instantly uplifted me if I were going out for dinner or with the girls for a lemonade whereas a pair of pumps or Converse are perfect if you are heading out shopping or for lunch. The waistbands vary on maternity jeans; either over or under the bump. H&M do a good selection which go over bump which I found lasted a little longer than the thicker bands which go under. They also do lots of different colours.

Topshop jeans Topshop jeans blue

Long vest tops – wear these underneath shorter tops so that you can get away with non maternity options in a larger size to normal to stretch your old wardrobe as long as possible. Towards the end of your pregnancy your bump will get so big that even maternity tops don’t seem to completely cover your bump and they save having any flesh on show.

Vest topwhite vest top

A sheer shirt – I bought several with lots of different patterns and colours which I teamed with different colour skinny jeans or tube skirt for work. These don’t even need to be maternity while you’re in the earlier months of pregnancy – some I didn’t grow out of until around 7 and a half months due to their baggy style.

Sheer Shirt

Wrap dress – while the crossover style grows with your shape and shows off your waistline the v neck makes the most of your growing bust line. I bought several dresses as I wore one each day for work, but if you don’t need them for the office they are great when you have a night out planned or an event. I actually found these more comfortable than trousers and went mainly for long-sleeved as I had a real complex about my arms! If you only wanted to buy one or 2 you can change the overall look each time you wear it with what you pair it with – a cardigan one day to dress it down, blazer the next for a meeting, or simply accessorise with a scarf or chunky necklace. Isabella Oliver have some beautiful choices in great materials which keep their shape, such as the below;

Wrap dressDress Isabella Oliver Dress

A smart and a casual blazer – these will go with just about anything and I’m a massive fan of this particular piece; dress up an outfit with a smart choice or go with a jersey blazer to give a casual outfit effortless style. Coloured blazers are great too if you have just the one pair of dark denim jeans to give your outfit a splash of colour. I like the fit of the Zara ones, however even Primark do a large selection! The best part is you can wear these when you’re no longer pregnant so don’t hold back!

Grey Blazer Red Blazer

T shirts and long sleeved cotton tops – Any material which is stretchy will show off your bump without drowning your figure and giving you no shape; great with a pair of jeans. Striped tops – usually tricky to pull off if you don’t want to accentuate your lumps and bumps, but there is no better time to show off your blossoming figure than now, it’s a great print for summer too. H&M or New Look have some really good budget options.

Stripe top Top

A long cardigan – elongate your body with the length – great if you’re feeling a bit frumpy at the moment with your current shape and it will go with so many of your  outfits. These are at Next, however any high street store has plenty of choice for now and postpartum.

Long cardi Long cardiagn

An LBD – Pregnant or not, the staple little black dress is a wardrobe essential! Perfect for me for those black tie events and festive parties. Seraphine or Tiffany Rose had some nice choices.

lbd littl black dress

Maternity tights – for me, working in an office over the winter these were essential and I bought a huge amount of pairs. I went with Mama Tights from H&M which went over my bump comfortably (think just under the boobs!!)

TIGHTS

A pair of black trousers – I didn’t actually ever get around to wearing these myself but they are great if you want to wear them to work with a shirt or cotton top. For staples such as these I found Mothercare had some good options.

I’ve never really been one for wearing leggings outside of the house; but on days where I have wanted to (and taken the opportunity to!) slob around, a pair of leggings are just so comfortable to wear. If you want to wear them out and about you can dress them up with a pair of flat riding or patent boots with a long cardigan and figure hugging top – show off that bump!! I found Asos had some good options (although that’s where my loyalties end with Asos maternity – I felt really disappointed with the quality of their maternity clothing.)

Remember, tight clothes whilst pregnant can actually make you look slimmer than baggy clothes. They will show off your bump and you’re bound to get compliments galore to make you feel great.

As you can imagine, having been pregnant since August I am well and truly ready to ditch (burn!) the last remaining maternity clothes which still fit me, and get back to shopping in my favourite stores, but it’s been a fun adventure trying out new styles and brands during my pregnancy so I hope you find your own style and enjoy the precious times that pregnancy brings.

Maternity fashion

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