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 :)

Letting reality sink in

Well, today I ordered my first baby-related item: a nursery rhyme book from
And because it caught my eye and I remember it fondly from my own childhood, I added to it the hungry caterpillar book.

So, before clothes or toys, a pram or a bed, bottles or pacifiers... I've bought my child-to-be some books. I guess that says a lot about a) how much I love books and b) how completely unprepared and blissfully naïve I am about the whole concept of bringing a child into this world and everything it entails.

On a slightly more realistic note, I got around to contacting an architect and builder to ask for a quote for the work that needs to be done to our place before it is even remotely ready to receive the new baby. Hopefully I can get that kick-started over the next few weeks and have everything finished well in time for the summer.

My bump has now made an appearance and although I can still button up a couple of pairs of trousers, I am pretty sure it won't last much longer. I am now mentally preparing to boldly go where I've never been before and visit a maternity clothes store. Or maybe I'll stick to H&M's maternity section?

I've put on 2kg/4.4lbs since the beginning of pregnancy (I'm almost 18 weeks on now) and I'm desperately trying to keep that number down - although you wouldn't think so judging by the amount of food I'm consuming. However, I've managed to keep it all fairly healthy so far and am drinking record amounts of water. Can you see my halo? lol.

Yesterday I had an amazing experience: a one hour long, luxurious massage. Not the first time I get a massage, but this one was particularly good and I felt so relaxed afterwards. Must try and make another appointment next month.

The rest of the week was nothing special, all work and flaking out in the sofa. I did go out on Tuesday night with two ex-colleagues to a yummy restaurant and was actually quite naughty, although no alcohol means I saved a few hundred calories compared to my usual night out.

Next week I'm off to see the Australian Pink Floyd in concert and am really looking forward to it! I've seen them 3 times before and love them! Okay, they're not the real deal, but they come pretty damn close. It's a pity baby can't hear yet as it would be in for some great music otherwise ;)

Chocolate eclairs and a heartbeat

Another doctor's visit today, so we got to hear baby's heartbeat, nice and strong.
Mine on the other hand is apparently not beating as rhythmically as it should, so I've been referred to the cardiologist for some tests. I don't expect it to be anything serious as I've noticed it has a weird beat for a long time and have never felt ill from it.

The scales showed a 1 kg / 2 lb gain, so I need to keep my eating in check. Which won't be happening today as I indulged in a chocolate eclair (mmmmnomnom), had lunch at a Thai restaurant with friends and am eating out again tonight. Thankfully I am not drinking alcohol, or I would really be in trouble.

Still sniffling with a cold that I can't seem to shake. Hope it disappears soon as it's stopping me from sleeping properly. I took a sick day off work on Tuesday as there was really not much work and I felt crap. Before I'd have gone into work anyway, as I needed to be on the verge of dying before I felt I had the right to a sick day, but now it's much easier as the only consequence is I don't get paid, so I don't feel as guilty when I decide I'm not well enough to work.

The only further exciting news (everything's relative...) is that Bart and I finally sat down and looked through names to try and decide which ones we liked. Boys' names are so difficult and we definitely don't like the same stuff (I'm into Noah, Lucas and Jonas whereas Bart is more of a Victor, Nick and Jack fan). We have about 5 girls' names we both like, so I think we'll be okay there. I have no idea how to decide which one it will be though. I guess we'll try them out on the bump once we know what it is and see which one sticks.

Smother-in-law time again

Dinner at the in-law's tonight, wish me luck as I am already stressed out at the idea of Bart's mother clucking around me and reaching for my (still inexistant) bump at every possible occasion, and every other well-meant annoying remark she can make...

On a positive note, we have found a daycare centre just around the corner from where we live, I can walk there every morning to drop bub off and again in the evening.

I'm going to try and work from home after bub is born. I hope I can find a few more clients to work for directly, no more ad agencies. I have calculated that right now I am working 44 hours a week (including drive to work) and I could earn the same working from home in only 24 hours a week (higher rates, lower costs and no commute). Right now it makes sense to have a more stable income with bub on the way, but later on I want the extra freedom of being my own boss completely instead of just a "hired help".

Other than that, I had a really bad cold last weekend, pinned to my bed for a couple of days, and am now left with the permanent sniffles and a blocked nose. Ugh.

Still being very good food-wise, although my apetite seems to have increased this week - I had 2 bowls of cereal for breakfast most days!. But managed to not overdo it I think as I'm still aiming to stay the same weight as long as possible. Luckily I'm craving fruit, milk and yoghurt so it's still fairly healthy.

I've made a list of all the work that has to be done in our apartment before bub arrives and need to start contacting contractors next week to get quotes. It's going to be financially painful, but necessary. In the long run I think it will increase the value of our place too.

That's all for now, mother-in-law calls...

Maternity visit

Yesterday I went to visit the hospital I will be giving birth at if all goes to plan.
My OB-gyn organises these visits a few times a year and invited us to come along so we could get answers to a lot of our questions and form an idea of what D-day would be like.

I had, of course, being the control freak I am, read up a lot about giving birth and how hospitals here usually deal with things and had quite a few concerns. Top of the list was how medicalised everything seems to be here: I read accounts of people being induced whether they wanted to or not, doctors performing episiotomies whether they were necessary or not, babies being taken away before they had a chance to bond with their parents, etc, etc.

Anyway, it turns out my doctor has a relatively "natural" approach to birth that very much put me at ease. For example, if the epidural is too strong and you can't push properly, he waits for it to wear off a bit so you can push - even if it takes 4 hours - instead of reaching for the forceps like many other doctors do. He also delivers in almost complete darkness - about the light of a candle - so the baby isn't completely blinded when it comes out - I absolutely love that part! He also has the lowest rate of c-sections of the whole hospital, which I find very reassuring. His philosophy is to try and not interfere if it isn't necessary and interfere if it is. I'm obviously hoping it won't be in my case...

The hospital has a jacuzzi bath which apparently can really accelerate labour, although you can't actually give birth in it. I've always loved water and would have liked a water birth so am hoping I can at least use it for labour. The only down side is that he says it sometimes speeds things up so much you don't have time for an epidural before the baby actually arrives and I'm not sure I'm ready for the full pain of child birth...

So now the only thing I'm worrying about is how long we can keep my mother-in-law away from the hospital for. I'm really cringing at the idea of her bursting into my hospital room, all flustered and excited. I had a taste of it last week when we went to see them and she wouldn't stop trying to touch my belly (there's nothing to see yet, let alone feel!) and kept asking excited little questions and telling us how impatient she is to meet the baby. She got it a Christmas present and talks to the print-out of the scan she's hung on her kitchen wall, every day. She's just very tiring and I'm not very good at dealing with her right now. Sigh. Luckily my husband doesn't particularly bond with them and tends to zone out whenever we're around them, so I know he won't be much keener than I am to have her around. And they live an hour away. I just hope it'll be enough to keep her at bay once the baby's there... I know, I'm such a bad person for saying all this, but she really is completely neurotic, over-excited and panicky... not what I need right now.

Anyway, right now I am still full of the illusion that giving birth will be easy-peasy and I have nothing to worry about. I'm sure I'll have changed my tune in a few months' time when I see how big the baby is and try to imagine it pushing its way out... Just leave me my illusions for now though please :)

Spreading the love

I'm really chuffed that Joy thought of me for the Beautiful Blogger Award, so thank you Joy for sharing that warm fuzzy feeling with me and I'll gladly pass it along to a few other amazing women whose blogs I've been following.

First for the 7 things you don't know about me...

1. When I was 6 years old, I flew over from Shetland to visit my grandparents in Belgium all on my own. On the way back, the last plane did a stopover in Orkney and I got off, thinking I was home already. When the airport personnel realised the mistake, they had to stop the plane at the end of the runway and get me back on board.

2. As if that wasn't bad enough, they'd overbooked the plane, so when I got back on it, the only seat left was in the cockpit, between the pilot and the copilot. I was so impressed I didn't dare ask if I could get up and go to the loo and I ended up peeing myself. When my dad asked me what had happened, I told him it was raining in London (!).

3. I could probably fill these 7 points with embarrassing stories of things I did whilst drunk. In my uni years and for a few years after, I collected quite a few memorable drunken moments. Throwing up on a guy I'd just met and whose birthday it was was one of them, throwing up in the bathroom sink at my boyfriend (now husband)'s place then having to unblock the sink at 6 am in the nude was another. And I think I'll stop at that.

4. I haven't touched an iron in about 15 years. When my parents separated (I was 10), I had to iron my dad's shirts and I think it put me off ironing forever. When he got a girlfriend and she started doing his washing, I vowed never to touch an iron again. For about 10 years I just wore my clothes as they came out of the dryer and now I have a cleaning lady who does the ironing.

5. I can't let a shopkeeper or a waiter undercharge me. If they make a mistake and I notice, I'll point it out to them, even if it means paying a lot more than they were asking. If I don't I feel guilt-ridden and am absolutely convinced that something terrible will happen to me. You know, karma and all that.

6. As a teenager I was obsessed with blood and other morbid stuff. Once at the doctor's office, I needed to give a blood sample and asked him if I could get an extra tube of blood to take home with me. For some bizarre reason, the doctor agreed, and I kept the tube of blood in my pencil case for several years after, occasionally taking it out to impress my classmates.

7. According to my mother, when I was little I ate a bit of sheep's poo, thinking it was a raisin. The neighbour's kid used to sit in the garden and eat worms though, so I don't feel too bad about it.

Okay, after that fun trip down memory lane, time for my own nominations. I tried to only nominate people who as far as I can tell from their blogs haven't been nominated already, and they're all blogs of amazing women I have encountered during my WW journey, who have inspired me, made me laugh (often), cry (sometimes) and who I admire very much.

Tina is a big inspiration and has lost an amazing amount of weight. I love how bubbly and cheery her blog is, it always brings a smile to my face.

Starfish's is another blog with a high feel-good factor. I'm always amazed (and a little jealous) at how active and determined she is...

Mel can really get me in stitches of laughter with tales of her work, family (especially the sabotaging brother) and ups and downs with food.

Shaz is another amazing woman. She looks absolutely gorgeous after losing over 5 stone and seems to always be busy raising money for charity.

Lana's blog rings very true to me - I can often relate to things she says and she paints a very realistic picture of the ups and downs of weight loss. Nevertheless, she's managed to lose a whopping 6.5 stone, very inspiring!

Emma is another inspiring "loser", looking gorgeous and keeping it real. I like that her blog is about so much more than just the weight loss too.

Mandy's finally is another blog I've been following from day go, another lovely lady on the bumpy road to shedding the extra pounds. I especially like her blog title, so true!!

Finally, an update

Well, where to begin? I suppose I should explain the reason for my long absence, though it's quite easy to guess... Yep, I'm 13 weeks pregnant! I didn't want to jinx it all so wanted to avoid posting the news until the first trimester was safely behind us. As of yesterday we have visual proof that the baby is alive and well (and moving around like crazy, although I can't feel anything yet).

It still feels crazy and slightly hard to believe. Especially as we got pregnant straight away, which I wasn't expecting to happen - needless to say the father is extremely proud of himself ;). We got a positive pregnancy test on November 22nd, confirmed by a visit to the doctor and first short ultrasound on December 4th.

First ultrasound on Dec 4th, with heartbeat, 6w, 0.43 cm

Second ultrasound on Dec 19th, with heartbeat, 8w, 1.98 cm

Third ultrasound on January 23rd, 13w, 7.43 cm

Third ultrasound on January 23rd, in 3D, 13w

The images don't really do justice to the moving ones we saw on the screen, especially this last visit, where baby was jumping all around the place and hitting the walls with its hands, but it's amazing to see how quickly it grows. I can't believe how big it will be by the time it's ready to come out!

Weight-wise, I put on 2lbs the exact day I suppose I ovulated and/or conceived, and since then another 1lb, which is really decent. The doctor was happy with the result yesterday in any case. I'm hoping to keep weight gain down to a minimum, hopefully less than 5kg/10lbs, but we'll see how that goes once the (mild) nausea dies down and I regain my appetite!

In the meantime, we went on our trip to New Zealand, where we had an amazing time, with a big family Christmas (in the sun) and a stunning road trip round the South Island. I am so glad we escaped the snow here - though we very nearly didn't get away due to the Eurostar hell and our flights leaving from London. Luckily I was able to book us on a flight from Brussels to London as soon as I found out the trains were cancelled - a few hours later they were sold out. It looks like Eurostar will be compensating us for that now, so I'm so glad I made that decision. I'll rant about the absolutely dismal communication on their behalf some other time...

 Christmas Day in the bush with my sisters

Our hike on the Fox Glacier


We got back on Tuesday and I've been slowly recovering from the jetlag since then. Starting work again tomorrow, though it will be as a freelance still as I explained my situation before leaving on holiday and told them I wouldn't be signing a contract as after the birth I want to be able to work closer to home. So it's all working out the way I wanted it to on that front too :)