Family time

We're spending a couple of weeks in France for the moment. I've banned the word "holidays" from my vocabulary and replaced it with "family time". With two kids to entertain and discipline, meals to make and dishes and dirty clothes to take care of, there's nothing really holiday-like about the whole experience. 

I love my two boys to bits, they're bright and funny. And inquisitive and full of energy. And noisy and messy. 

Having said that, Monday mornings have a new, sweet appeal to them. Aaaah, work! Time to sit down for a coffee without hearing "Jack wants milk!". Toilets with doors that lock (no little people sitting on your lap while you go!). Phone conversations uninterrupted by cries of "Muh-meeeee!".

But for now it's time to go out on our next adventure, the pink fairies are making it difficult for me to write any more....

Life with two wee men (and a big one)

Since last time I wrote, we've welcomed Lucas into our little family and all in all life has been good.

My second little man was born on February 11th 2012, a day before the estimated term, just like his brother. Unlike his brother, it was the middle of winter, -10° outside and I'd been having contractions every 8 minutes for the past 24 hours. I called the hospital asking if I shouldn't come in and the midwife suggested I take a bath. Luckily I decided to call my sister to come and babysit Jack, saying we were leaving for the hospital after the bath, no matter what. That was at 7.22 a.m. on that Saturday morning. Exactly 2 hours later, at 9.22 a.m., Lucas was born, after a blitz delivery, just 25 minutes after arriving at the hospital.

Since then he's been a real ray of sunshine (I write, as he wakes up crying from his nap...)

One year on...

...and I'm about to become a mummy for the second time. Baby is due on February 12th. We don't know yet if it's a boy or a girl as it was crossing its legs at the 5 month scan last week. I think it's a boy again :)

Jack has just started walking on his own and he's so funny, wobbling his way accross the room, looking so proud and looking at us for encouragement and confirmation of his feats :)

The past year has been easy and hard at the same time. Easy because we've been really lucky with Jack. He sleeps really well (12 hours a night since he was 5-6 months old and only waking up to feed before that) and eats like a little ogre. He even feeds himself with a spoon, which is so cute and also means I can eat a meal at the same time as him now instead of gulping down food in between feeding him spoonfuls.

Hard because there's no denying that having a little man at home means getting up when he wakes up, making his meals at regular intervals, changing him, entertaining him (a lot) and planning things around his schedule most of the time so he gets enough food and rest. And being the person I am, routine is just something I need to be able to escape from or I go nutty.

I've been working mostly from home for the past year, with some time spent at my clients' offices or in meetings. Money-wise I've taken a big cut in income, earning less than half what I used to. I just can't fill my days with loose jobs, and right now going back to taking on full-time assignments just isn't an option. I need... I want the flexibility of being able to stay home when Jack's sick and pick him up from daycare at a reasonable hour. And with Baby2 on its way I've even decided to give up work for 6 months next year because the whole breastfeeding/pumping thing I did with Jack was just too much hassle and because the amount of time he was off sick meant it just wasn't worth putting him in daycare that young.

I'm hoping that being in contact with Jack will mean Baby2 gets used to other kids and hopefully catches all the germs going round so by the time he/she starts daycare there will be less days off and more time for me to get back to work.

So another 2 months to go and I'm off work. I'm looking forward to not having to turn my computer on, having time to prepare for Baby2's arrival, playing with Jack, going out for walks when the weather's nice, seeing all my friends, several of whom will have babies of their own by then and then after that taking care of Baby2.

I'm looking forward to him/her being here in a way I wasn't with Jack. First time around I was really taking every day as it came, enjoying the pregnancy, discovering all the new stages, preparing for a big unknown. This time I know more or less what to expect and there's a lot less apprehension and a lot more impatience ;)

Planning-wise the idea is to do what we did with Jack and keep Baby2 in our room the first 5 or 6 months, then have them share a room. I'm not sure yet if we're going to use Jack's bedroom or move them both to the office and move the office into Jack's (much smaller) room. And we're also discussing buying a house with a garden. I'm so undecided. Pros are of course the garden, and being in a quieter neighbourhood, having an extra room/bedroom (although I'd like them to share while they're young) and no more rickety lift. Cons are finding a nice place, renovation work that will undoubtedly be needed in our budget range, stairs to negotiate, selling this place in the current market, moving... Sigh.

And then there's our idea of going to New Zealand next winter for a few months. Which would have to wait or be severely reduced in length if we bought a place next year.

Oh and weight-wise, well I ended up putting on 8 kg when I stopped breastfeeding (big bummer after managing to lose all the pregnancy weight directly after giving birth), a consequence of being allowed to drink again and keeping up the (bad) eating pattern I'd developped while breastfeeding, aka an extra 2 or 3 biscuits and chocolate a day. In April I decided to start losing again and was down 3kg when I got pregnant again (which was wanted but kind of a spur-of-the moment decision ;)). 24 weeks on and I've put on 2kg so far and am really trying to keep my weight steady. Some days I succeed better than others.

I've just signed Jack up for baby swimming classes, starting next Saturday, so that'll be a nice activity for us to do together. Yesterday we went to a park with an animal farm and Jack had a great time feeding chicory leaves to the donkey, lama, goats and rabbits. He also went on a swing for the first time and loved it so much he didn't want to get off after 10 minutes and kicked up a fuss when we pulled him off it so another little girl could have her turn. Wee man :)


Okay, I have to put pen to paper (so to speak) and commit to this or it'll never happen.

I had a lucky break with the pregnancy, out of the hospital and back to my lowest weight straight away, so I really need to be a bit more grateful for it and not throw away this opportunity to continue on the road to my goal.

Since then - already 3 months - I haven't been very good. I've fallen back into a sugar spiral, with chocolate and biscuits forming way too big a part of my daily diet. My only saving grace has been breastfeeding - the extra calories I need have counteracted *most* of the naughty food. I need to put a stop to this andI'm not sure I can manage if I don't take a solemn pledge.

Having said that, I just bought a box of Pierre Marcolini chocolates - aka bite-sized pieces of heaven. Okay, I am going to pace myself. No more than 2 a day from now on. And no more biscuits. I mean, it's ridiculous, all the other stuff I eat is healthy.

There. I've said it, I've committed and now I have to stick to it. Watch this space for a weekly update.

Oh, other than that: Jack is just adorable - so gorgeous and an absolute sweetheart. He sleeps really well at night and is getting into more of a rythm during the day too. And he started daycare 2 weeks ago, part-time for now. I love being able to work a bit in the morning and pick him up around 2 and still have all afternoon with him :) Life is really good right now, more than I could ever have imagined.


We've survived the first week back home, I'm happy to report.

Although we still have moments where the reality of the responsibility and commitment involved in taking care of such a small being sinks in, and we look at each other and ask "did they really let us leave the hospital with our baby?"...

So far, the hardest part has been the breastfeeding. We were doing well the first 2 days - as long as Jack wasn't really hungry, but as soon as hunger kicked in he seemed to completely lose patience and only managed to latch on for a few seconds before wailing as the milk wasn't coming fast enough. After 2 frustrating days - for both of us - I was offered a breast shield, which immediately solved the problem, or more acurately postponed the problem as I will have to wean him off it eventually.

Back home, I'm dealing with his strange feeding rhythm: once every three hours seems to be the rule, except for between 7 pm and 1 am when he needs almost constant feeds, leaving me drained and teary-eyed most nights. I've built in a mid-afternoon nap for myself that definitely helps, but now he's extended the hourly feeds to other times of the day too... leaving me wondering if he's getting enough milk. Sigh. The good news is my nipples are healing and most feeds are now pain-free.

Bart's been very supportive but on seeing me so tired and upset has already suggested dropping the breastfeeding, hitting the bottle and giving him a teat. I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet though.

On a more positive note, I weighed in at 90.9 kg / 200.4 lbs this morning, just a few hundred grams higher than my lowest recorded weight last year. So the pregnancy weight is virtually gone! I have to admit this is better than I expected, especially considering I was no saint during the last 4 months. Seems the fat gods decided to spare me this time around ;)

The plan is to keep eating healthily, which seems easier to do knowing everything I eat is passing through my milk to the little guy, and hopefully lose a constant 0.5 kg a week till the end of the year. That'll get me out of the 80's by the second week of next year... which would be amazing!

I think I can hear Jack rousing from his afternoon nap so will sign off now and leave you with the first pic of him with his eyes open:

Post pregnancy weigh in

First of all thanks to all you lovely ladies for commenting on my previous post.
As you can imagine I am totally in love with the little guy :)

But now for some serious business... weigh in and getting back on the weight loss wagon.
My lowest weight pre-pregnancy was 199 lbs / 90.1 kg, the week before I got pregnant.
The last week of pregnancy I was up to 229 lbs / 104 kg, so a gain of 30 lbs / 13.9 kg, with quite a bit of water retention to blame...

Weigh in yesterday morning gave me the nice surprise of... 203 lbs / 92.2 kg, so only 4 lbs / 2.1 kg to lose to be back to pre-pregnancy weight :)

I'm breastfeeding (not easy, but we're slowly getting the hang of it) so I have the perfect excuse to keep eating lots of fruit, veg and wholegrain foods and stay away from the alcohol. So I'm hoping to lose a bit more weight over the next few weeks.

Right now I won't be signing back up for WW, as I feel pretty much in control of what I'm eating - that and the fact that I just don't think I want to spend the time necessary to record everything I eat. We'll see how it goes and I'l re-evaluate in a few weeks.

But it's good to be 12 kg down after just a week, more than I'd hoped for :)

And now I'm off to dote on my gorgeous boy :)

Jack is here!

Hi all, just a quick update to let you know I gave birth last Thursday to an amazing little guy named Jack.
He was 4.060 kg and 53.5 cm and absolutely perfect in every respect :)
The birth went well. I was in labour for almost 16 hours and the last minutes were hard work but so very much worth it.

We've just gotten home from the hospital and are getting the apartment organised for this new life.

Here are some pics of the little man:

Countdown to delivery

Just back from a lovely week in the South of France and thought I'd post a pic of the bump:

Another month to go! Busy getting the apartment tidied and cleaned - bloody builders still haven't finished though! - and we've started putting the furniture in baby's room, so it's getting really exciting :)

33 weeks pregnant

Pregnancy insomnia is one of the only things I can complain about right now.
Everything else is going absolutely perfectly. So I thought I'd take advantage of being up this early to finally update my blog.

At our scan yesterday we got to take another peek at baby, who is head down (good news!), developing well and most definitely a boy. Another month and a half to go before due date, and reality is finally starting to sink in.

Work in the apartment is almost finished, but there's still a lot to do. The electricity has been replaced, an unpleasant but necessary intervention, and baby's room just needs a coat of paint and we can start furnishing it. The rest of the place looks like a complete dump, with furniture, books and other bits and pieces piled everywhere, and dust coating half of it. No use cleaning until everything's finished and we're leaving on holiday next Saturday so it's a bit of a pain.

In the meantime, I've just about stopped working, apart from the odd job from home and a few client meetings. As of next week I'm officially on holiday/maternity leave.

Last week I finalised the design of the birth cards and I'm really excited about the result - I think they look amazing and am so glad we'll have made them ourselves as I couldn't find anything I really liked in the shops.

Weight-wise I'm now 7kg/15lbs heavier than at the start of my pregnancy, which I feel is pretty decent and hope to be able to keep under control in the last weeks.
I've been having a hard time finding a balance, not being on WW anymore, between allowing myself a bit more and going completely overboard. I've gotten into the (bad) habit of having at least a couple of biscuits and a piece of chocolate every day... something that has to stop as quickly as possible. I'm trying to be more strict already and limit my weight gain and the baby's for the last few weeks so I don't have to give birth to a whale - especially as my ob-gyn seems to be taking some kind of sadistic pleasure in telling me baby is "in danger of being bigger than average".

On a positive note, I've been going swimming once a week with a pregnant friend and really enjoying the exercise. And the hotel we're staying at next week has a pool too. I bought a really practical pregnancy swimsuit and am glad I'm getting so much use out of it :)

This weekend we picked up all the baby stuff I bought second hand off a friend. Still can't believe a little baby needs so many things! I'm now really looking forward to decorating the baby room. Hope the result is as nice as I imagine it.

Not much other news, but I will try and update again before baby arrives. I might even get round to taking a picture of the belly :)

It's a boy!

Our 5 week scan yesterday revealed the long-awaited news of the baby's sex, and it's a boy!
A little strange to me as I was expecting it to be a girl. Boys just seem like an alien life form and I think I felt more comfortable with the idea it was a girl, but I'm still thrilled.

And all else is well: brain, heart and kidneys are the right size and shape and in the right place.

We also got to see the cutest images of his face in 3D, although the stills are nowhere near as impressive as the moving images were:

It's just so amazingly beautiful... I can hardly believe it's really growing inside of me :)

I am now almost 23 weeks pregnant and baby is estimated to weigh about 600 g / 1.3 lbs.

As for, me, I've gained 4.3 kg / 9.4 lbs since we conceived, which is still the bottom of the pregnancy weight chart, but the challenge will be to keep the numbers down for the next 4 months.

This is the chart I've been using as a reference:

24 lbs (their "low" weight gain at full-term) seems like a lot of weight to put on, so I hope I can stay under that.

All else is going really well with the pregnancy, still no complaints really which is so lucky when I see how difficult some of my friends' pregnancies are or were.

I changed jobs a couple of weeks ago, which wasn't foreseen as the contract at the previous place was supposed to go on till the end of June, but they had to put an end to it due to their client cutting budgets in half.

Luckily I found another position the very same day, this time closer to home, with public transport access and I also negotiated a better day rate. On the down side it is much more demanding and the hours tend to be longer, so I haven't been getting much rest these past two weeks and desperately need some down time to relax.

Hopefully once I get into the project it'll be easier to plan in some time off (I'm supposed to be working 4 days out of 5 but so far have only managed to take a couple of hours off!).

That's all the news for now - I'm off to continue looking for the perfect name now we know it's a boy :)