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Monthly Archives: March 2015

17 Weeks and EXHAUSTED…

Today I’m 17 weeks pregnant…

I’ve gotten past all the rubbishy bits that I wasn’t enjoying (the details of which are destined for another post or two) and I’d even gotten past the awful first trimester exhaustion.

I had energy and motivation. I was getting things done. Okay, so maybe I threw myself into the doing of things with a bit too much enthusiasm, but I’d spent weeks flooping around home and work, dragging myself from one tiring activity to the next…activities like lifting a cup of tea to my face or trying to push a pen across some paper. Or maybe, you know, trying to think about a particularly complicated idea or something.

I couldn’t help throwing myself into life again when I found myself feeling energised at about 14 weeks. I spent a day baking, shopping, sorting, cleaning…it was amazing. I was soooo happy that I could do things again.

Then the next morning I woke up feeling like a truck had hit me. In the face.

And that pattern has continued for the past three weeks.

Energy…activity…sleep…days of exhaustion…

I’m pretty sure that my tiredness is down to the fact that I’m being more active now. Everyone is telling me to take it easy but I’m sick of sitting on my bum while everyone runs around me and my waist gets wider (and not just because I’m pregnant). Maybe the more I do things the more used to it I’ll get? And until then?…

…naps…naps…naps…

I slept for ten hours last night and still had to have an afternoon nap today.

I also have a weird taste in my mouth that I’ve never had before. I tried drinking a Becks Blue yesterday and it tasted AWFUL. Honey and lemon, and coca cola also left me grimacing…and the least said about black forest gateau the better…

It seems to be a consequence of sugary sweet things, which, for a cake addict like me, is quite upsetting. On the up-side I can still eat spicy gherkins and cheese, so it’s not completely terrible.

I’m hoping the bad taste (and at least some of today’s tiredness) is down to a non-pregnancy related illness. I don’t want to be ill, but I definitely don’t want this horrible taste to be a new phase of pregnancy. I don’t think I can deal with it long term. I need the cake.

As you can probably tell, I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself…

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Life, Pregnancy

 

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Over It?…

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This tastes AWFUL to me today.

I think I’m over my craving…

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in Food, Life, Pregnancy

 

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Ironic Cravings…

When people find out you’re pregnant one of the first questions they ask is about your cravings.

And when they see you eating something slightly unconventional you get the inevitable “pregnant women eh?!”…to which I usually say “No. I was eating jalapeños/pickles/capers by the jar BEFORE I was pregnant. Actually.”

The thing is, I haven’t really craved anything notable up until recently. Lots of women don’t. Pregnancy cravings are a bit of a stereotype really. Ok, so I’d been putting hot sauce on EVERYTHING (and still am), but I’ve always loved spicy food. Like the pickle addiction, it’s nothing new.

In the first few weeks after we found out about the baby I’d gone off sweets and was eating salads and fruit and all sorts of healthy rubbish…but then every other day I would crave crave CRAVE a Big Mac…or donner kebab and chips…

I think my body just wanted the fat it wasn’t getting.

As soon as I got my sweet tooth back and started more stodge on a day to day basis, I stopped craving anything at all.

And then one day Luke came home with a beer…

Oh my GOD. I wanted it. At that moment I knew what a craving was. It was all I could think about. Beer. Beeeeeeer. BEEEEEEEEEEER.

Thank the stars above that alcohol-free beer is a thing!

Before being pregnant I enjoyed the odd beer but I’d rarely ever finish one, leaving my first bottle to go flat and warm, never wanting a second. When I got my first pack of Becks Blue (0.05%) I downed four of them in ten minutes. It doesn’t even really taste of beer – it’s more like beer flavoured water. But I didn’t care. It was cold, it was fizzy, it smelt of beer. It was heaven in a bottle.

I will admit, when it comes to “weird” cravings beer is an odd one. I’m pregnant. I shouldn’t have it. But that’s probably why I want it.

Tonight I’ve got a bottle of this…

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Becks Blue is like lager…a weak imitation of lager. It’s good, but it’s not great.

Brewdog Nanny State Alcohol Free Hoppy Ale is EXACTLY that. Oh my goodness it’s hoppy. It’s perfect. It tastes deliciously beery and it’s just about fizzy enough to satisfy my craving for bubbles.

I know it’s incredibly low alcohol (it’s 0.5%, the same as Shandy Bass), but it tastes so good I feel as if I’m getting drunk. It probably helps that I’m drinking it when I’m really REALLY tired.

It’s a bit more expensive than my usual Becks (£1.29 a bottle from Tesco vs. £3.49 for six bottles of Becks Blue) and I’m sure I’ll still drink A-F lager (especially as it is even lower alcohol than the Brewdog), but it’s infinitely more satisfying when I want a REALLY BEERY beer. Like right now.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2015 in Food, Pregnancy, Reviews

 

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The Constance Wallace Tea Shop…

So, yesterday my sister Steph took me, my Mom and my Great-Aunt out for lunch as a belated Mother’s Day present. I asked if we could go to the Constance Wallace Tea Shop as I was desperate go and sit in and try their food. Luke and I had hired a HUGE amount of vintage china from them for our summer wedding party last August (more about that after the food…) and I’d fallen in love with their cute little shop, but so far I hadn’t had the chance to eat there.

The shop is tucked away in Barnt Green Village amongst the other shops, and looks amazingly inviting from the outside…

The Tea Shop - 91 Hewell Road, Barnt Green, B45 8NL

The Tea Shop – 91 Hewell Road, Barnt Green, B45 8NL

It can be quite difficult to park sometimes, but it’s well worth a short walk from anywhere you can find a parking spot. It’s also very close to Barnt Green train station so is nice and easy to get to by public transport too.

Inside, the shop is even more beautiful, and has been so lovingly decorated with vintage china, bunting, birdcages and the like. They’ve also got lots of lovely, desirable things for sale, as well as china and party decorations for hire. If you can think of it, I’m pretty sure they have it there…

...there's seating by the cosy fireplace...

…there’s seating by the cosy fireplace…

...the lovely ladies who served us working away behind the till...

…the lovely ladies who served us working away behind the till…

...walls of beautiful china...

…walls of beautiful china…

We walked in to find the shop busy and were pretty lucky to find a table for the four of us (I would highly recommend booking a table, especially if you plan to visit at lunchtime), but the ladies in there couldn’t have been more welcoming. We had menus as soon as we sat down and were served in double-quick time.

...Mom was very happy to be there...

…Mom was very happy to be there…

...Steph enjoying her Earl Grey (and wearing a Gryffindor scarf even though she's a Hufflepuff!)...

…Steph enjoying her Earl Grey (and wearing a Gryffindor scarf even though she’s a Hufflepuff!)…

...me and my sister being dubious of Mom's photography skills...

…me and my sister being dubious of Mom’s photography skills…

It took me a while to decide what I wanted…no, that’s a complete lie. I knew exactly what I wanted before I went in. I wanted afternoon tea (£14.95pp) but I took my time committing to it as everyone else was being “good” and just ordering toasted sandwiches and tea. In the end I gave in to myself, announced that I was eating for two and ordered exactly what I wanted. Huzzah!

I had to smile when the teapot and teacups were brought to the table as I got the teapot – so I could be “Mother” – and a pretty pink patterned teacup because I “might be having a girl”…lending yet more cosmic weight to my feeling that our bubs is a girl

...pretty teacup and cute teaspoon...

…pretty teacup and cute teaspoon…

…and then the food arrived…

…and OH MY GOODNESS was it good…

...my afternoon tea in all its glory...

…my afternoon tea in all its glory…

...and in close up...

…and in close up…

…knowing that I was pregnant, the waitresses did everything they could to make sure my lunch was suitable for me. Normally the selection of sandwiches includes brie (which I can’t have) and smoked salmon (which I wasn’t sure I could have) so they took it away and it came back instead with extras of the things I could eat. I had cheese and cucumber, ham, beef and caramelised onion marmalade, and egg mayonnaise, all of which were delicious, and all accompanied with salad, crisps and a pot of coleslaw. 

A really lovely touch was that I got two plates, so when I’d covered one in coleslaw and mayo I had a clean one hiding underneath for the cakes…

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Moving up a level were two lovely warm scones with mini pots of jam and cream. At first I was convinced that there wouldn’t be enough of either for two scones (greedy cow that I am)…

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…but the portion size was perfect…

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…and finally on the top layer I had a mini éclair (lovely), an orange cupcake (which I gave to Steph as I’m not a fan of orange flavoured things…but she LOVED it), a blueberry and cream meringue (delicious) and fruit kebabs (very refreshing after lots of cake and cream…they were KEBABULOUS!)

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My food was so good that I honestly didn’t care what anyone else was eating, but they all said that their ham, cheese and tomato toasties were fabulous. Made with lovely bread, they came with a huge portion of salad and my Aunt said that it was the best sandwich she’d had in a long time. High praise indeed…

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As a pregnant lady, I obviously have to visit the toilets in EVERY establishment that I visit, and even that was a joy. The washroom was gorgeously decorated, with a beautiful feature wall made of hundreds of pieces of broken crockery, and there were some really thoughtful little touches to make it just a special as the tearoom itself…

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When it came time for us to leave the ladies at the tea shop wished me all the best with my pregnancy and encouraged us to come back soon…and to bring the baby too when he or she arrives. It was lovely to be made to feel so welcome and I absolutely cannot wait to go back again. It’ll be lovely to be able to visit a baby-friendly teashop with my little one, but I’m pretty sure I’ll find a good reason to go back there even sooner than that.

Thank you to the ladies of the teashop for a warm welcome, fabulous service and fantastic food…and thank you to my lovely little sister for a wonderful lunch!


ADDITIONAL – CHINA HIRE

I can HIGHLY recommend not only The Tea Shop, but also their Vintage China Hire. They did us proud last year when we hired enough cups, saucers, teapots, coffee pots, milk jugs and sugar bowls (oh…and sugar tongs, tea spoons, cake stands and vintage picnic blankets!) for sixty people…they did us a fantastic deal at VERY VERY short notice and couldn’t have been more helpful.

We had a summer wedding party so that our friends and family could celebrate our marriage in the sunshine. Constance Wallace helped to make our party really special and all our guests commented on how wonderfully the afternoon tea we served was presented. I would definitely hire china and party supplies from them again, and after eating there I would also be VERY keen to use their catering and party planning services too!

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Days Out, Food, Places, Reviews

 

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Why I (Mostly) Have No Faith in G.P.s…Pt.2…

To add to my post of yesterday

I’d been suffering from pain in my hip and leg which I’d thought was my sciatica getting worse (more about that another time), along with some pretty hideous facial eczema, so I called the doctor’s surgery and, although I was in for a good week’s wait for an appointment, I managed to secure an emergency appointment on the basis that I could barely walk.

I didn’t have a lot of choice over who I saw, but I made sure it definitely wasn’t the incompetent dolt doctor I’d seen before Christmas. I went in feeling quite positive that I would get some results. Silly girl.

So! I told him that pregnancy was causing my sciatic pain to get worse and he asked me what I defined as sciatic pain. I told him. He then berated me, made me feel stupid, and told me that I don’t have sciatic pain because it wasn’t travelling down my leg into my foot. Later that night, when my foot went numb, I wished that I had his home number so I could call him and make him feel stupid.

Feeling a little bruised (metaphorically), I then told him of my worry that I might be suffering from SPD, or PGP as it’s now known and he made me feel stupid for that too. All it took was a disparaging look this time.

He told me that I probably needed physio to help with the pain (the not sciatic, not pelvic girdle pain), but that the midwife would probably get me seen quicker than he could. He then gave me a list of numbers that I (that’s me…not him! ME!) could call, along with the instruction that I should ask how long it’d take them to see me if he referred me. Needless to say, all the physios I called seemed very confused that it was me calling them and not him, and they all told me that he should know that if he marked it as urgent I’d get seen by them within three days. Despite this assurance, I decided that he could shove his help up his butt and I would ask my midwife for help, no matter how long it took.

(Actually, as it was, the midwife referred me to the Pelvic Girdle Pain clinic at the hospital and since then I have been diagnosed with SPD/PGP (screw you Dr Naysayer) and they’ve done a lot to help me alleviate the (often debilitating) pain that I was suffering from…thank you midwives!)

Finally…I asked him about something to soothe my sore, dry, itchy eczema…

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“That’s not eczema.” said he…”That’s pregnancy acne.”

And then he gave me a prescription for a face wash that isn’t even made anymore and told me to wash my face in VERY HOT water before putting on a non-oily moisturiser.

Okay, so I admit, there IS acne there. I will give him that one. However…had he looked at my face for longer than ten seconds he would have also seen chapped skin so dry that it was actually cracking. Skin that needs oil. Skin that would NOT appreciate being washed in VERY HOT water. So I ignored the pants off him on that one too and oiled my skin up good. I can put up with the acne as long as my face doesn’t feel like a mask of uncomfortableness.

I did not like that doctor.

And that concludes my missives on why I have no faith in GPs, and highlights why I will ONLY go to my midwife for pregnancy related problems from now on. When it comes down to it, GPs are NOT specialists in pregnancy or anything that goes along with it (they’re not specialists in anything really, are they? That’s why they’re called GENERAL practitioners) so they can’t give pregnant women the best advice or the best care.


…I’d just like to add that the doctor I went to see just after I found out I was pregnant was FANTASTIC. She listened, was NICE and very supportive, and she shared in our joy. She didn’t talk down to us or belittle us, and if I ever need to see a doctor at my GPs surgery I will go to her from now on!

Not all doctors are big poopy heads, just MOST of them.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2015 in Life, Pregnancy

 

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Why I have No Faith in G.P.s…

At the start of my pregnancy (when I didn’t know I was pregnant) I developed a UTI that wouldn’t shift using the conventional methods (sachets of salts, cranberry juice, lots of water, etc.)

I decided to visit the doctors, and was so desperate to get better I agreed to have an appointment with a GP really REALLY don’t like. On every visit with her I have been made to feel stupid and told to go away. She just generally doesn’t seem very interested/competent…but as I said, desperate!

My appointment with her went a little like this…

Me: I think I have a urinary infection.

Doc: Have you brought a sample?

Me: (wondering where I was supposed to deposit said sample when this was my first visit) Well, no.

Doc: (annoyed) OH!

Me: I didn’t have a tube. Could I just do one now?

Doc: *SIGH* I suppose you could. 

I depart…and pee…and return…

Doc: *dips a stick in the sample…waits* Nope. It’s fine. You don’t have an infection. *throws the sample in the bin*

Me: Really? But *describes symptoms, including frequent peeing*

Doc: Well, it does sound like an infection. I’ll just do you a prescription for some antibiotics. Take them next week if your symptoms haven’t cleared up by then.

Me: Do you think I could be pregnant?

Doc: You won’t be pregnant.

Me: Could I do a test?

Doc: But I’ve thrown your sample in the bin!

Me: I can see it right there. I’ll get it out for you.

Doc: NO! I’LL DO IT *dips a pregnancy test strip in the retrieved sample, waves it in the air, throws the stick in the bin after two seconds* NOPE! NOT PREGNANT! 

At this point I gathered up my stuff and left, only to go back a few seconds later.

Doc: What now?

Me: The prescription you’ve given me is for a 62 year old MAN called Andrew.

Doc: (laughs a little…not at all bothered) Oh, I must have been looking his notes instead of yours *redoes the prescription*

I honestly couldn’t believe it. I’d have complained right there and then if I hadn’t been so shocked, and I won’t complain now as I’m worried about being struck off their books.

I’ve since found out from my midwife that the idiot doctor should have sent my sample off for testing rather than throwing it away, and she should have let the pregnancy test strip develop for longer than the two seconds she bothered to wait.

I don’t know if the test would have shown anything as I was, at most, a couple of weeks pregnant at that point, but I do feel that she let me down by not even giving the strip time to develop.

I also don’t know what damage would have been caused to my developing baby if I’d have decided to take the antibiotics. There’s not been sufficient studies done, but this website says some worrying things about antibiotics prescribed for UTIs and the damage they might cause to a baby if taken during pregnancy. If I’d have followed her advice I could have been exposing my child to the possibility of birth defects.

As it is, I didn’t even get the prescription filled out…partly because I don’t trust antibiotics, and mostly because I didn’t trust the person that prescribed them to me. Looking back I’m so VERY glad that I didn’t take them…

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Life, Pregnancy

 

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Pregnancy…A Whole New Adventure…

I was already five weeks pregnant by the time we found out we were having a baby.

I’ve always been one of those women who – even when I was on the pill – had monthly “I’m pregnant!” panics, doing pregnancy tests when I really didn’t need to. Coming off the pill before we got married obviously intensified this feeling, and soon I was only buying tests from Poundland, lest I bankrupt us with my obsessive purchase of Clearblue tests. I’d actually started to believe that maybe I couldn’t have children when the tests were still negative over a year after I took my last pill.

Not that we were trying, of course…we just weren’t not trying. And I was ridiculously broody. RIDICULOUSLY.

The silly thing is that when I actually did fall pregnant before Christmas I ignored all the signs, failed to notice I’d missed my period, and shushed everyone who joked about possible pregnancy.

For a few days before Christmas itself I started to get terrible back and stomach pain (wailing to Luke that I was dying) and I started sleeping pretty much all the time. To Luke’s amusement I eschewed sweets and puddings, and ate an inordinate amount of cheese, which I put down to “shut up I’m not pregnant”.

I went back to work on the first Saturday of the New Year (after quite a few sick days where I lay in bed sleeping ALL THE TIME) and it was only then that I realised I might have missed my period and that I should probably do one of those tests that I’m so keen on doing. I popped off to Poundland on my break and, utterly convinced it would be negative, I did it in the toilet at work.

I can’t really emphasise this enough, but NEVER DO PREGNANCY TESTS AT WORK!…especially if you really think you might be pregnant.

I have done these tests a million times before and although they tell you to wait 5 minutes to read it, the control line usually appears pretty quickly. In the past I’ve always stared at the positive/negative window willing a line to appear in there too but, in my experience, once the control has appeared you’ve pretty much got your answer. Now these tests are RUBBISH and the lines are pretty weak, but there it was.

...the very first (very pale) test...

…the very first (very pale) test…

Positive. Maybe.

And then I started to freak out in a quiet and controlled way.

“Oh” said my brain. “OH!”

…and then I spent the next two hours in a state of shock. I wanted to call Luke but I didn’t want to tell him over the phone. I ran to my locker sporadically, starting text messages to my best friends and deleting them again. I had to tell Luke first. In the end I rang my mom…

Mom: Are you okay?
Me: No…
Mom: What’s the matter?
Me: I can’t tell you. I have to tell Luke first.
Mom: Oh?…OH! Oh…
Me: Yes, that’s what I said. Okay then. Bye.

…and then I stood in a shocked daze for a little bit longer, finally blurting it all out to my manager who patted me on the head and let me go home early.

All the way home I tried to think of a way I could tell Luke the news. Hell, I wasn’t even sure that I was pregnant…that line had been SO faint. Now, I know that no matter how faint the lines are, you don’t often get a false positive, but I don’t know, maybe it was just a brain tumor?…that’ll be my hypochondria flaring up a bit there.

I ran into the house and straight into the bathroom, armed with another (crappy Poundland) pregnancy test. To my frustration it yielded a fainter line than the first. I took a deep breath and presented him with both of these along with a decent amount of furrows on my brow…

…and he smiled…

…and it was GREAT.

Obviously though, I still didn’t believe it, and I did another two tests the next morning. Both Poundland. Both fainter and more ambiguous than the first and second. There was only one thing for it. I had to stop being a tight-ass and pay a decent amount of money for a decent test.

Hello Mr Clearblue Digital Test.

It was agonising, but I waited until Monday morning (a whole SIXTEEN HOURS) just to make sure I gave it the best chance possible. I was totally and utterly convinced that it would scream NOT PREGNANT at me and my world would shatter into a million miserable little pieces…but I didn’t need to worry…

...there's no second guessing this one...

…there’s no second guessing this one…

Luke was still dozing in bed so I crept back into our room and whispered “I am pregnant” in his sleepy ear…

…and he smiled again…

…and I did a little happy shriek…

…and that was when our new adventure began for real…

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2015 in Life, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

 

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