Persephone: Parent

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Flexible Hospitals

I start this post at just gone 5pm from the reception area of my nearest midwifery center as I wait for my second ante-natal class, and I wonder if the “flexible” element is worth it.

I’ve been highly annoyed over the past 7+ months at the regular assumption that a) I’m unmarried and b) I’m unemployed. I’m sure it’s some sort of equality thing whereby every pregnant woman is assumed to be single and on the dole so you can’t offend those that actually are. Except I feel quite offended when it happens the other way.

What I did initially really appreciate was how my first midwife appointment was in the evening. Here in England women are allowed all of their ante-natal appointments as paid medical, but the fathers have these appointments as purely recommended. It’s at the manager’s discretion.

So to be given my midwife booking at half 6 was perfect; hubby left work a bit early, I went to a friends and we both got there on time. But we didn’t get to eat until gone 8pm.

It was the same with our first ante-natal class last week. I got home from work, sat down for half an hour and then left for the midwifery center. On the second class I simply left work late and went straight there because it’s a longer walk home than there!

But we couldn’t eat until gone 8. And it’ll be the same tonight.

I still appreciate the flexibility of having classes in the evening as hubby doesn’t need to take annual leave, but there is literally nothing else at the midwifery center except a few vending machines (the hot drink one isn’t currently working!).

We went to one of the few evening breastfeeding classes last week, too, another show of flexibility for those that work. Or at least one of the parents does. But this was at the hospital rather than midwifery center.

Because it’s a hospital it is 24hours a day, the coffee shop and newsagents are still open at gone 6pm and maybe even the canteen. So we grabbed dinner before the breastfeeding class.

Perfect blend of both worlds and flexibility.

Although it did give me extra things to consider with regards on where to give birth.

Sometimes providing things so flexibly isn’t worth it. Or things aren’t flexible enough – a weekend daytime ante-natal class would be more suitable than one covering dinner time!

~ Persephone M

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Countdowns…

I haven’t done a countdown in a while, but then other than this weekend, I haven’t blogged for about a week – last week was manic with various antenatal classes and it’s the last one tonight!

So countdown!

3 days until Doctor Who returns. I’ve never been into Who before, but started with Matt Smith’s first appearance and I appear to now be a Whovian. Can’t wait to see more of the new companion.

5 days until Games of Thrones here in the UK and it’ll be Easter Monday so I might have to watch it alone, but I can’t wait to see how they do justice to Storm of Swords.

16 working days of work left – thank goodness for Easter Bank Holidays!

17 days until my baby shower!

24 actual days until my maternity leave starts.

43 days until the Estimated Due Date although the general consensus (not of medical professionals) is that I’ll be early because I’m huge.

52 days until the in-laws are due over to meet Elvis.

57 days until two weeks past due.

73 days until the family wedding where everyone gets to meet Elvis!

There we go. My countdown for the next few months.

~ Persephone M

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My Baby Freebies!

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Okay so this is a little collection of things I’ve mainly got from Bounty or Emma’s Diary. The nearest two rows are definitely from the Bounty pack: Newborn. Not all washing liquid/powder freebies or body creams are there. Oh, and I did get a hooded towel from my first Bounty pack. I’m loving all this free stuff though!

~ Persephone M

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Little Pickles Market

After attending the NCT Nearly New Sale a few weeks back I decided to see if there were any other similar types of events because there are 6 months in between NNS.

I quickly found information on Little Pickles Markets, which I immediately discovered are far more frequent and there are more dotted around the local area rather than NCT which are one per City. It means that I went to one this weekend, there’s another at the same place in the middle of May and another local one at the end of April.

After the surprise of the NNS I was still wary of LPM. Everything sold at the NNS is donated by mothers and sorted by the volunteers. Everything’s then sold through the NCT so everything’s organised like one “shop” with one till.

Before the LPM I knew it was different in that rather than donate their stuff to be sold through one place, mothers at LPM sell their own stuff. I immediately thought that would make it more jumble sale-like and I was wary regarding the lack of organising.

It was no where near as organised as the NNS but it wasn’t a huge heaped mess either! The clothes weren’t as cheap or I wasn’t patient enough to look through, but I still paid no more than £2 per item! The really good thing was that haggling was possible and whilst there were far fewer clothes than at NNS there were far more toys, push chairs, travel cots and other non-clothes.

I managed to get a few winter coats for next year (planning ahead) and two fantastic bargains! The first was a deluxe baby bather suitable for newborns so it doesn’t last long. It needs a wash, but then it’ll be fine in the adult or baby bath. The woman selling it said that she found it useful so her baby was more secure.

So LPM have on hand advice about what they’re selling – amazing! And, the baby bather I got was £2, RRP £17.99. Even better, the baby bath I’d planned on buying is RRP £27.99 but with the 2nd hand bather, I went and bought a normal baby bath for £12.99.

That’s a £13 saving.

On a different stall I got a manual breast pump for £3. I don’t mind whatsoever having a second hand one as I don’t intend on using it. I just want it as a precaution and the brand at the LPM matches the sale bought steriliser I got months ago (forward planning and being cautious) so all the bottles will fit! The RRP for the manual breast pump I got is £29.99.

So a saving of £26!

Total saved (not including clothes) is £39 for two things, one I might not use and one that’s for a short term use.

Pretty good for my first Little Pickles. I will definitely be going to the next one, unless Elvis comes early! Because whilst it wasn’t as well laid out it was filled with more accesories and user knowledge.

~ PersephoneM

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Week 31: GP

As this is technically week 31 (from the beginning not up to my due date), I had to have a GP appointment.

I’ve only had to see a GP twice, and I’ve seen a different GP each time. The first time it was Doctor Useless who used to be one of only 3 doctors at the practice. They’re absolutely awful. At the antenatal appointment, Dr Useless barely asked me anything, measured me and listened for Elvis’ heartbeat without actually telling me what they were doing and without explaining any of the results. I’m used to Doctor Useless, luckily.

For the second GP appointment, I saw a new person that I’ve never seen there before (we’re now a practice of about 10 doctors) – Doctor Glasses (simply because they wear glasses and I’m feeling unimaginative!). And how refreshing the appointment was. Doctor G explained the tests, checked my swollen ankles, asked me about the iron tablets and made me feel so much more at ease. They confirmed that Elvis’ head is still at the bottom (I think he’s pretty comfortable and doesn’t spin or turn anymore), but not engaged – good! Dr G also asked if I feel lots of movement and I said yes, that Elvis had found my ribs the day before.

He’s only attacked my ribs the twice, but he’s definitely always kicking just on the one side and slightly in the middle (some of it feels like he’s trying to escape through the tummy) so I’m hoping that points towards him not being back-to-back, rather side facing.

Now I just have to wait 2 more weeks for the next Midwife appointment, which was made for a Bank Holiday… umm…

~ Persephone M

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Day 58 Encounting: Clothes Shopping

There may be only 50+ days left, but I had completely refrained from doing any shopping of clothes whatsoever for Elvis. I knew I needed the basics, the essentials, and I also knew that my mum had that covered! In fact she’s bought plenty of non-essential items, too, but that isn’t the point.

Apparently it’s bad luck to have the pram/pushchair in the house before baby comes. I have no idea why; I haven’t researched that Old Wives’ Tale. What I think of as a bit like Counting your chickens before they’re hatched is the clothes thing. Not only for what if the worst happens, but also what if he’s massive so all the 0-3month clothes don’t fit! Or only fit for a day or two and then he needs a bigger size. It’s the same with nappies: yes, I need however many to cover the first few days, but there’s no point in stocking up on what could be the wrong size. Or, what if the scan was wrong and Elvis is… Elvira or something!

So I had refrained from buying anything other than a few little essentials that I knew my mum hadn’t bought as the doting Grandmother. Until I decided to head to an NCT run Nearly New Sale.

The National Childbirth Trust is a charity that runs various things for New and Expectant Mothers. Things include antenatal classes, post-natal drop ins, yoga and relaxation courses and Nearly New Sales (amongst other things). I don’t think any of their courses or meet ups are free, but a portion of what’s paid will go to the charity. The Nearly New Sale (NNS) is charged on the door by £1 per family, I think I heard them say, but I was happy to pay £1 each for myself and my mother (it is for charity).

What I expected was a jumble sale. Anyone can donate their used goods to be sold on the day, and I expected to see each seller having their own table so everything would be a bit miss-matched with a mixture of clothes, toys, books etc on every table.

It is not a jumble sale!

Everything donated is labelled up with a price and seller ID and then everything sorted into one giant “shop”. So there are clothing racks laid out by gender and age making it easier to look at the range you wanted. Starting off at newborn, clothes went up to about 3 or 4 years of age. Around the outside there were more clothes piled on tables in the same age range/gender layout. These were then used to top up the main racks when it was needed, but they did get a bit muddled.

There were also specific areas for toys, books, equipment and parent books. And a separate rack for GroBags and Fancy Dress clothing.

Some people get amazing bargains there – breast pumps, cots, baby bouncers, etc. We only bought clothes, but we bought loads of clothes and a lot of them were only 50p! One dungaree set still had the shop label on them – BRAND New. And there were some decent “brands” there, too. Not that I specifically want brands for me or my child, but if I can get a John Rocha or Next t-shirt for 50p, I bloody well will!

I think I totalled up 7 full outfits, one coat, one cardigan and another 5 t-shirts and all for £20. Everything that you want to buy (from any table or rack in the room) is taken to one till area (so there are big queues) and you pay for it all in one go. It means there’s no need to have lots of change like you might need to at a car boot sale (although change for the door donation/entry fee is needed) or constantly getting your purse out or wondering about accidentally wandering off from one “stall” to another.

It was far more organised than I thought and the clothes I got were of such a decent condition, I will definately be heading back to their next one – my area have two a year. So Elvis should be about 6 months old at the next one.

They also provide you with a bag to use as a shopping basket and then a bag at the end with all of your shopping in (and some leaflets and freebie stuff!) so there’s no worry about buying too much (unless it’s more than you can carry) and there was an option to bring your car around if you bought a cot or something! Which is probably the worst element of my local NNS – parking is limited to 1hour during the day, but we did it!

Meanwhile I did have a look online for other local second hand sales and found something local called Little Pickles Markets which sounds similar to the NNS except I think people do run their own stall (not sure), but I will be heading there in a few weeks to see what it’s like and what other bargains I can find!

~ Persephone M

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62 Days And Counting: What’s Peed me off Today

I didn’t intend on posting today.

I didn’t intend on posting this today.

But sometimes things happen.

 

I’ve found work incredibly frustrating and annoying over the past 7 months of pregnancy for a variety of different reasons.

Due to the manual labour-ish type of work I do, my boss moved me to desk work for health and safety. But no one bothered to look into the health and safety of me sitting at a laboratory bench on a laboratory chair doing 7-8 hours of laptop work. I should be at a normal desk on a normal chair that supports me properly using a PC not a laptop (that last one isn’t pregnancy related at all).

It’s annoyed me because HR/employer can’t seem to provide me with any of the information that I need. Nor can they meet deadlines set out in the government guidelines when it comes to maternity based issues.

I’ve had to ring central HR myself for answers because my own HR department failed to respond to my repeating a question at least 3 times.

My employers have lost paperwork when I have done things the official way. So now I email them. It’s not how they want everything, but at least things don’t go missing. Or even worse get stolen!

About an hour ago I received a call from a health visitor explaining that they need to meet with me before Elvis arrives. Their first option is to meet tomorrow morning. How many people in a job can drop everything for the very next day?

I know that meeting them and any other ante-natal based appointment is important, but the next day… only those lucky enough to not work or work shifts can really drop everything for the very next day if it isn’t urgent.

So we couldn’t come up with a suitable time and she says that they can try and meet me as I start Maternity Leave and hope that Elvis doesn’t come too soon as I don’t have any annual leave between now and then.

I mention this quickly to my boss whilst still on the phone as there are two suitable days next week, but they take another phone call and can’t answer me, resulting me and the health visitor still with no appointment time.

Earlier today I was looking up something with regards to ante-natal care and vaguely remember seeing something about health visitor appointments being included as ante-natal care that is covered by paid time off. So I pop over to see HR and double check.

In no way did I mean it as get around my boss. I wanted to know if I needed to take annual leave, wait or if it was paid time off. HR said, yes, it’s paid time off. I just need to give a bit of warning, which is completely understandable and fair.

I then mention this to my boss. I meant it as a way of informing them that I would be making a medical appointment during work time (with notice) and that I was entitled to. They pretty much snap at me that “fine, make it whenever you want” in this snippy tone that they so frequently use with me. I even said that I’d checked with HR with regards to paid/not paid. My boss seems to be reacting as if I decided their answer wasn’t good enough and I’ve run to HR to get the time off.

Even trying to add in a few other comments to my boss to show it wasn’t a behind their back thing was met with snippy.

They then went off to a meeting and I’m left here eating my lunch and really rather angry and peed off. It may have been an over-reaction when the health visitor said they’ll try and catch me when maternity leave starts but before Elvis is here, but I panicked a bit about not getting the chance to meet them and if it will reflect badly on me. I have no annual leave to take so I needed to know if I was covered by HR/paid time off.

And my boss is acting like I’ve done it out of spite or going behind his back to get my own way. So often they’re like this. I’ll mention something about returning after my year and I get a comment about how working this or working that is pointless and they can’t go that long or it would be stupid for the workplace, when no one knows what my plans are.

The health and safety issues, the lack of information from HR and the snaps I keep getting from my bosses are making me absolutely hate working here and not wanting to return after the year, but then what’ll I do?

Rant over,

~ Persephone M

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63 Days encounting: 9 weeks +/-2

I had another random day off today (annual leave I need to take or lose) and it’s currently the same time as I’d usually be home, but it feels so much nicer!

I spent my morning catching up on TV, as I can at the moment. Then a spot of food shopping before cooking 3 meals to freeze for once Elvis is here. Then I went swimming at the lovely time of half 2.

Its so nice swimming with few people there. And swimming really helps. I went last night when I was in a bad mood and I came back much happier. It never hurts as much walking home either because I’m all stretched. Somehow I always feel more flexible after swimming.

I just wish I could go at a more reasonable time every day, but I have to work!

I’m still making my way through my “iron rich” cupcakes which are surprisingly yummy and I had my whooping cough booster on Monday – my arm still hurts!

Here’s to tomorrow not being too bad at work and having the energy to swim some more!

~Persephone M

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Day 65 Encounting: 30 Mondays Ago

Having my Bump, Elvis, be conceived with assistance, I know exactly how many Mondays ago my last period was.

Thirty.

I know that 28 Mondays ago, was the day that the doctor performed the insemination.

And that 26 Mondays ago, I didn’t start my period. After three years of trying to not have a period, 26 weeks ago, it finally happened.

And there’s only 9 Mondays left (until the EDD of course).

I thought I’d start a little list of countdowns, because Elvis’ birth isn’t the only thing that’s coming up.

So we have:

4 Weeks Time: Game of Thrones Season Three Starts.

7 Weeks Time: My maternity leave starts.

65 Days: My EDD and Elvis should be near arrival!

79 Days: Assuming he hasn’t wanted to arrive, this is two weeks past the EDD and therefore I’d be induced?

13 Weeks and 5 Days: family Wedding where I get to show off Elvis to all of his family!

~Persephone M

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66 Days Encounting: Dietary Changes Needed

After my last post, I noticed, but kinda ignored an extreme tiredness simply putting it down to being pregnant and all.

Until I got a call from my doctor’s receptionist saying that my blood tests were back and I have slight anaemia, that there was a prescription for me and that I needed to collect it. Okay, I thought, that’s all normal. A lot of pregnant women become slightly anaemic in their pregnancy. Especially in the middle-later parts. I was fine with this.

Until I started thinking a tad too much.

Was it my fault?

Is my diet that horrendously bad?

Am I already an awful mother?

It’s not easy to have a balanced diet at the best of times. Day after day there’s another news story or health scare about what people should and shouldn’t eat. You shouldn’t drink alcohol. But red wine’s good for your heart. You shouldn’t eat ready meals, but they have less salt than store-made sandwiches. You can’t win 100% on everything. And that’s for a normal diet, let alone a pregnant one.

Take this anaemia thing. Anaemia is essentially from a lack of iron in your diet. It causes a decrease in haemoglobin and therefore in your red blood cells. You don’t have enough red cells to carry oxygen around your body and can therefore feel faint, dizzy, light-headed. It can happen to anyone who doesn’t eat enough iron rich foods, but is far more common in pregnant women because their baby is “stealing” their iron and their blood volume increases over the pregnancy. If your blood volume increases, but you don’t have enough iron, that blood volume won’t contain enough red cells and it’ll be mainly water.

So the “cure” is to eat more iron, which is commonly found in fortified cereals, red meat, nuts, pulses, green leafy veg, eggs, etc. Okay, well too much red meat is bad for you, but the rest should be fine for most people. And pregnant women should try for two portions a day. So cereal for breakfast and then meat/pulses and broccoli for tea. Sorted, yes?

No, because that’s where you get the usual dietary problems of good and bad qualities. Iron absorption is aided by Vitamin C (fruits, fruit juices, tomatoes) and like any vitamin/mineral only a certain amount can be stored at any one point, and absorption is better from food than tablet. Okay, so cereal and a glass of Orange Juice for breakfast is perfect then?

No.

Because whilst Vitamin C helps iron absorption, calcium prevents it. Just as caffeine inhibits calcium absorption (so forget that morning cup of tea with cereal), calcium inhibits iron absorption. So that bowl of cereal with milk on it… Are you absorbing all of the iron? Should you be eating dry cereal?

Is that why I’m anaemic? I’ve consciously increased my calcium intake to protect my bones, has it decreased my iron absorption?

As I said, nothing in diets is that simple whatsoever. It’s all about trying to maintain a balance and hoping to some extent that some of the good you’re doing is prevailing.

I’m taking my iron tablets (so far without the side effect of heartburn because my hormones give me plenty of that!) and I’m consciously avoiding milk at meal times (but drinking it other times) whilst also increasing my broccoli intake. I’m also off to make myself some healthy muffins and flapjacks with pecans and raisins in; both a source of iron and perfect for me to nibble during the day.

A small part of me still wonders if it’s all my fault and that I should have been clever enough to not get slightly anaemic, but I know it isn’t true and that I am doing my best.

Now with added muffiny goodness!

~ Persephone M

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