Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Wednesday 21st December
Sparty: 18+3

Today is my last day at work in 2011 and what an amazing year it has been!  I've worked out that I have only about 15 working weeks left until I'll finish for my maternity leave, that doesn't seem like a huge amount.

We had to have a quick visit to the hospital on Saturday as I got a little bit of pink spotting again, hardly anything but I'm not taking any chances so the Midwife at St Peter's said to pop in.  I thought we might have to be waiting for ages, like I'd done in early pregnancy but the midwife in triage called us straight in and she checked for a heartbeat and Sparty's heart was beating away, just like I'd heard the previous Tuesday.  Its the most amazing sound and I'm so pleased that Tom heard it for the first time too!  He thought it sounded like a lasso or some kind of space ship?  I just thought it sounded like the best sound i'd ever heard.  A strong, fast, rhythmic beat, letting us know that everything was OK.  I really really hope that I don't get this spotting again; there has been none since, fingers crossed.

In the last couple of days I'm feeling a bit more movement, its mostly just to the right of my belly button, or about one inch directly below and they feel like tiny little kicks, not flutters anymore and not strong enough to hurt but I'm pretty sure the feelings are the baby (still not 100% though!) I'm LOVING the feelings though, now that I'm getting used to it, its not freaky or strange anymore, just really reassuring.  I'm hoping that Tom might get to feel the movement over the Christmas holidays.

So onto Christmas and I really cannot wait this year!

Helen and Spartacus

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Tale of the Underwhelming Midwife

Wednesday 14th December
Spartacus 17+3

Firstly, little Sparty's heartbeat was heard (albeit briefly) and all blood tests and blood pressure came back fine so that's the main conclusion to draw from my tale, however I did leave the appointment yesterday feeling altogether underwhelmed.

My appointment was 20 minutes late, having been made to wait outside in the cold until the Midwife was ready for me, as the main reception was closed.

My midwife was not there and so I had another one, she told me that Helen (my community midwife) was swapping areas with Caroline from January, so this lady (don't even know her name) was covering until then.

She wasn't rude or horrid, simply indifferent, she went through the motions and I was in and out in less than 15 minutes, that in itself I wouldn't have minded, but I just felt a bit like a number and she was going through the motions.  I had to push to even get her to listen for the heartbeat as 'they don't normally do that at 16 weeks,' despite me being told that they would... I think it highlighted for me just how the NHS operates, it's very random, and all staff are most likely underpaid and overworked.  Just a little bit of friendliness and treating me like a person would have been nice.  I only had two questions but forgot to ask them as I was rushed in and out.  But never mind - the main thing was that all was good.

I only got to hear Sparty's heartbeat for a few seconds but it was a lovely thing to hear!  It sounded like a chugging train.  Tom thinks that Sparty is a stealth baby as he/she moves away from the machine as soon as it goes on my tummy - doing exactly the same thing with the scan!  I'm so pleased that Baby E is still doing well in there (in the crudest terms - still alive) and we've not got very long to wait now until the 21 week scan just after Christmas.

Other News
My sickness has now virtually disappeared, i'll still have the odd queasy moment and my food tastes and aversions are still not back to normal, but its just delightful to be feeling normal (if that makes sense)

We bought a pregnancy pillow last weekend, which I'm getting used to, I can see how this will be useful for me as I get bigger - although today in particular I'm feeling massive already and have such a long way to go yet.  We also bought a couple more clothing items for Sparty - mainly because they were on offer; i'm reluctant to buy anything more substantial as I want to get past 24 weeks.

I've been having quite a few aches and pains in the last few days, in my hips and tummy, I've been assured this is normal as my uterus continues to grow and stretch to make room, its quite uncomfortable already, especially after eating.  I'm beginning to get an idea of just how difficult and uncomfy this might become :-(

Despite this though, I'm actually beginning to enjoy little bits now.  My bump is growing and its obvious that I'm pregnant (not just a bit podgy) now.  I'm able to look forward a bit more and the reality that we are having a baby -that we take home and is real, is starting to dawn on both me and Tom now.  I think that I'm feeling movement a bit more than before, its still hard to tell but its still relatively early days really.

I'm really looking forward to Christmas now that I've heard Sparty's heartbeat and roll on 2012 for another year of crazy madness - this time last year I was busily preparing to become a MRS and now i'm doing the same to become a MUMMY - wow!

Helen and Sparty

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Midwife Nerves

Midwife App today at 3pm - very nervous, I don't think this worrying is going to ever end, maybe when Spartacus is 30 years old or something like that!!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pregnancy Yoga

Wednesday 7th December
Spartacus: 16+3

I love pregnancy yoga!  I had my first class on Saturday and it was such a lovely hour.  The teacher is very 'Earth Mother' and very spiritual (which usually is not my thing when taken too far, but an hour gives you the perfect balance I think.) There were just six of us in the class, four of whom are at 32 weeks or more.  One other girl joined the same day as me and she is 19 weeks so not that further ahead.  It was strange to be around other pregnant people but in a really nice way, like I was part of their club.
We started by doing some initial breathing exercises to relax us; she told us to put our hands on our babies, which I found quite strange to hear, talking about 'my baby'.  We then progressed to do lots of different stretches, positions that will be good for various stages in pregnancy like indigestion, heartburn, when you feel uncomfortable etc..  and moved even further into positions and stretches that would be useful in labour to 'breath your baby out'!
We also did lots of meditation-type exercises and movements, concentrating on feeling relaxed and passing that feeling on to our baby, we did the pelvic floor moves (which I need to continue to keep doing) and some moves that concentrate on strengthening your core strength. There were also some moves that we did for the baby, to get it used to hearing noises and spiralling -which is what happens during labour.  I found that quite amazing!
There were lots of different things for me to take in, learn from and hopefully improve upon.  Above all the class just made me feel relaxed, excited and at ease with being pregnant.  Now that the horrid sickness is disappearing, hopefully I can begin to enjoy this journey and I think that if I can continue my yoga then this will be beneficial to me. 

Helen and Sparty 

Monday, November 28, 2011


Monday 28th November
Spartacus: 15+1

So far my 14th and 15th week have been fairly quiet.  I've been having some good hours/half days/days even amongst the sick days so I'm really hoping that this means that the sickness is on its way out - please God!

I'm also feeling very tiny flutterings in my lower tummy but I'm not really too sure if this is the baby moving or if it's just in my imagination - its hard because if you focus on one area for long enough, I think you can make yourself believe something is happening.... does that make sense?  Its still pretty early to be feeling anything so I'm not worried, just intrigued!

Claire came over this weekend and lent me lots of her maternity clothes - yay!  And we had a nice evening at Tom and Laura's.  I still felt quite sick in the evening but it was just really have a normal night out and stay up past 9pm for once.  It was also really interesting to get stories, advise, tips, comments from both Laura and Claire, they weren't trying to ram anything down our throats or state that the way that they did things was right.  So it was nice just to listen and get their opinion on things.  I started, for the first time I think, to actually think about having an actual baby.

I got fitted for a new bra on Sunday.  It was getting a little ridiculous in my 32B's.  My size is now - wait for it - 36D - crazy!  But my new bra is very comfy and I guess that's part and parcel of it all.

Helen (and Spartacus)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I feel quite pregnant

I feel quite pregnant this week - I feel like my tummy has popped out a little bit - I will post a nice picture on here when I take one.

Also yesterday was the first day in about ten weeks that I've not been sick.  I felt sick for a lot of the day but no actual sickness - yay! Fingers crossed this trend continues, as I've seen enough inside of toilet bowls!

Helen and Sparty 14+2

Friday, November 18, 2011

Screening Results

Friday 19th November
Spartacus 13 + 5 

Last night we received our screening results through the post.  Now we knew immediately that this would mean that we were at low risk for Down Syndrome as, if you are high risk, then you get a call from the hospital within 3 days of your scan.

I was not however expecting that the risk factor would be 1:32,000!!!

I was blinking chuffed with this result, it's the lowest risk factor that I have ever seen or heard of.  I realise that it's not a competition but, lets face it, that's one great little baby that's growing inside me - even if I do say so myself!

Thank you Sparty - I know you've made me feel pretty sick but you're doing well so far!



Telling our parents and everyone else!

Friday 11th November, 2011
Spartacus 12 + 5

We went straight from our scan, back to Nailsworth to tell mum and dad.  I told mum very soon after arriving by showing her my scan.  She looked at me and started crying.  She said 'I knew' (like I knew she would!) and then we had a long chat about all the ins and outs.  She had a read of my notes and we spend the afternoon baking some cakes for my birthday tea on Sunday with Tom's family.

Dad got home around 5:45 and again we gave him the picture and let him figure it out.  He also started crying and gave me a really big hug.  It was lovely that they both knew.  Of course the worrying and questions start here!  We had a nice dinner and early night (as I was feeling pretty exhausted by then; emotionally and physically!)

Vic, Joe and Freddy came down as well on the Saturday and of course they knew but it was nice to have another chat about everything.  We kept saying to Fred - 'Where's your cousin?' sometimes Vic says he points to the door!  but mostly I just think he looks confused!  He can say 'Baybee' though so we're getting there.  He loves babies so already he going to make a brilliant older cousin!  (and Vic says that if Sparty is a boy then we can dress them up in matching outfits for Rocky's wedding- how cute will that be!)

Sunday 13th November (my 32nd Birthday!) 
13 Weeks

On Saturday night we drove back home (with a short vomit stop in Weybridge - how lovely!)  and were up bright and early for our birthday lunch with Tom's family.  We did a big tidy up of the house and make some lunch for them.

It was Tom's turn to tell everyone so he handed his mum and dad each of our iPhones with the scan picture on it and told them that we had some news!  It didn't take them long to figure it out and they were all very happy!  Tom told me he was really nervous telling them all!  Lots of hugs and kisses and questions and we all chatted about the last 13 weeks.  They told me that they had guessed a few minutes earlier when they saw that we had moved the desk down from the office (now Nursery!) and although they were all probably expecting it - I'm sure it was a lovely surprise!

A very original birthday for me.  Really funny to think that just one year ago, me and Tom were attending the tasting evening for our wedding  getting really drunk and looking forward to the best day of my life so far! 

Completely amazing how much my life has changed since that wonderful Valentine's day kiss in February 2009!

Helen (and Sparty)

Spartacus wants to say hello!

Friday 11th November
Spartacus 12+5

Today couldn't come fast enough.  Our appointment was at 9am.  I didn't sleep too badly considering but was up at 6:15am and just pottered about until it was time to leave at 8:15.

We were ushered straight into the sonographers room, we'd completed the form to say that we'd like to have all the screening tests done and I lay on the bed, extremely anxious and nervous.

'There is baby and there is the heartbeat'  I LOVE those words more and more!  Just an amazing sense of relief. The scan was simply amazing.  Sparty was moving around so much and it was magical to see.  He'd stretch his arms, legs, turn completely over, scratch his nose, and just wouldn't stop!  We couldn't believe it!  When you look at a scan picture, you get a 2D flat image and what me and Tom didn't realise was that you see so much more in the scan because it's in 3D so you see the whole arm moving up and down.  She showed us all the parts of his body as well as his full stomach and bladder!

The Sonographer took all the measurements that she could and then she got stuck.  Sparty had turned completely over so he was lying on his tummy on the bottom of my uterus.  So she couldn't do any of the main body measurements, and more importantly couldn't do the NT measurement, which is the key one to test for Down's Syndrome.

So to try and make him turn over, I had to move around a bit, shake my hips up and down and side to side, lie on one side and then turn over to the other, bump my bum against the bed but nothing was working.  So she suggested that we take a 15 minute break for me to have a walk around, something to eat and drink and then she would try again.

So we had quite an odd fifteen minutes (in which I went to the toilet three times??!) and when we were called back in, he'd moved into a perfect position and I think was asleep as he stayed still for the rest of the time.  Amazing to see the heart beating away and whilst she took the remaining measurements, we just gazed at the screen in delight.  I noticed that the NT was 1.3mm which I knew was def on the low side, so that reassured me.

When we had finished the Sonographer went through all the notes and told us that we were measuring four days ahead!  So I was actually 12+5 instead of 12+1 like I'd thought.  This puts our due date at May 20th 2012.

Now we could enjoy my birthday weekend properly and onto telling the parents!

Helen (and Sparty)


Never Ending Nausea and other Symptoms

So around 6 weeks the nausea set in.  Without sounding like a moany cow (although I sound like a moany cow but forgive me this indulgence)  Feeling sick, heaving and vomiting throughout the day has got to be one of the most depressing and awful feelings I've ever been though. The worst time for me overall has to be late afternoon/early evenings.  I usually have to walk home from the train quickly in order to make it to my bathroom in time.  Poor old Tom, he's either waiting outside for me to emerge looking like death, or sometimes during particularly bad sessions, I've wanted him near me, stroking my back and looking after me.  It must be so horrid for him but he's just been amazing and its really comforting to have him to give me a cuddle afterwards and tell me that I'm ok and he's looking after me - I've never seen him do so much washing up!

Sense of Smell
Doesn't the world stink?!  I can literally smell everything and its not nice.  London during rush hour on a train has got to be up there with the stinkiest of places to be.  I've taken to carrying my scarf around with me to use as a mask over my face when someone breathes near me, smokes near me, or is just near me!  I think that this contributes a lot of the symptom above.  I cannot even open the fridge without running to the toilet to be sick. The smell of fried, fatty foods is gross and I can rarely make it past a burger van or fast food vendor without heaving.  We've even had to pay to get our oven cleaned as I'm sure that I could smell old food burning whenever we used it.

Changing Taste Buds
Again, linked to the above two symptoms, there are now plenty of foods that I cannot go near and sadly these seem to be the healthy ones.  At one stage this baby was getting all his nutrients from pork pies, fish and chips and salt and vinegar discos :-(    The literature tells you that, at this early stage, just eat whatever you think you can keep down and so that's what I've been doing.  I miss salads and broccoli and fruit.  I promise I will start feeding you better Sparty - once I can keep it down!

Stupidly I thought that because I'm one of those girls that needs her sleep and early nights, that the tiredness symptom of pregnancy may not effect me too much.  How much earlier than 9:30/10:00pm can you go to bed?  The answer to that is around 8pm!!  I think this is getting better now (13 weeks) but there have been some evenings where I just cannot function after this stupidly early hour.  Its not like I've been waking up early either, I've been flat out as soon as I've got into bed.  Its tiring business growing organs, skin, bones and a face!

My body is changing!

Here is the proof - Just call me Dumpy Elliott - but eeek that is a baby bump!

  • The bloating started right away!  
  • Bigger and Heavier Boobs - Tom loves this symptom and I find it quite a weird one.
  • I definitely look pregnant in the evenings and often wonder how I'm going to keep up the secret when I look pregnant.
  • Indigestion - I guess that my dignity is already dwindling with this one (enough said)
  • My bum is big
I'm finding that my changing body is a very strange symptom as I've never been bigger before and its funny to see.  I've nicknamed myself 'Dumpy Elliott' as I'm certainly bigger all over.  I think probably partly because of the food that i've been eating and obviously because my body is getting itself ready, so apparently ensures that there are adequate fat stores to cope with the pregnancy.

Change in Identity
I don't really feel like me.  Sometimes I want the old Helen back and then I remember that this is a truly amazing thing that i'm going through and its only for nine months and then I can go back to being me.  I would never wish that I wasn't pregnant but hadn't quite appreciated just how different everything would be and how I would feel.  I sometimes look at Tom and feel sad that it will never be just the two of us again, so I really want to make the most of the next few months (please feel better soon Helen!)  On the flip side, we will have created something that is made from me and him and will therefore always be connected forever and ever!  

Helen (and Sparty)

The Scariest Few Weeks

Friday 16th September onwards...
I started spotting three days after I found out I was pregnant, it was actually when my period should have arrived and all the literature tells you that this is the time that you are most susceptable to any spotting.  I didn't stop spotting until around 6 weeks pregnant and I can tell you, without a doubt, that these two weeks were the most frightening of my whole life.  I'm not ashamed to say that I was a mess and just a bag of worry.  Very unplesant for both me and Tom and I know that it really wasn't nice for him either to see me so upset and worried.

The Early Pregnancy Unit told me that at only 4 weeks there was nothing that they could do this early on so really I had to just sit tight and wait it out - something for those that know me, is not something I'm very good at doing.

My bleeding got worse and I had a few cramps a few days later, right before I was due to see my doctor so the EPU then told me to come in so that they could rule out ectopic.  It wasn't a very nice appointment and when they did the scan, they thought they could see something in my uterus but they were not sure so I had to again, sit tight and go for a follow up scan in two weeks :-(

I didn't make it to two weeks later as on Sunday 25th, as we were going to bed, I started getting quite sharp, severe pains in the right side of my tummy.  This was one of the things I had been warned about and so followed instructions and went straight to A+E.  Tom was absolutely great, he's been my total rock throughout all of this.  Neither of us had gotten much sleep over the last 2 weeks and we'd been away for Iain's birthday weekend so were both shattered but knew this was more important.  Thankfully, being a Sunday night, it was fairly quiet at the hospital and it wasn't long before we were seen.  They took bloods, urine and checked me out.  They were quite confident that they could rule out ectopic as the pain didn't get any worse when pressure was applied.  I was told to sit tight and come back first think in the morning when the EPU opened.

Scan number two followed that morning and they could see something - hooray!!  Baby was in the right location and there was a gestational sac and yolk, and the growth was in line with my dates of 5+3.  Tom came with me on this one and we were chuffed to bits, baby looked distinctly egg shaped and this was the best result that I could have hoped for.  I actually stopped bleeding soon after this and began to feel quite nauseous too, which by all accounts is a very good sign (although believe me, it doesn't feel like that when you have to run from your meeting to the toilet - more on that later!)

Tuesday 4th October
I still had to go back for my follow up appointment and, as things had calmed down, I went to this by myself.  I drove there for the 10am appointment and didn't have to wait this time, I went straight in.  Within 10 seconds of the sonographer placing the probe inside me, she said, 'There is baby and there is a heartbeat!'  I loved those words.  That was really all I needed to hear.

It was at this stage that we named our baby: Spartacus; because he or she is clearly a fighting gladiator!

Roll on week 12 please and fingers crossed for an uneventful 6 weeks leading up to this

Helen (and Sparty)


Telling my sisters!

Wednesday 14th September
I did a digital pregnancy at work in the morning, which came up with 'PREGNANT' and then 1-2 weeks, this made it even more real for me and Tom and so we were happy then that we could tell my sisters.  I really wanted them to know straight away as I knew that they would be so much help for me in very different ways.  Vic has been through it before so could help me with what was 'normal' how I would be feeling, what I need to be doing etc.. and Rocky because she's often the person that can rationalise things a bit better for me, tell me when i'm stressing and be the person that I can chat to as someone that hasn't been through it either (if that makes sense!)

They were both over the moon when I told them and we all got very emotional, it kind of makes it more real, the more people you tell!  I immediately got Vic's advise on a few bits and pieces and it was just lovely to feel like its our secret now for the next 12 weeks!  I've got a long way to go until then and it feels very daunting at the moment - I just want to go to sleep and wake up on the day of my scan.

Symptoms - not very many, I'm feel hugely bloated and maybe a little queasy....

Helen (and Sparty!)

I'm Pregnant!

We decided to take the first step in trying for a baby a few months ago and being the organised person that I am, I approached this with a lot of precision so I learnt all about ovulation, cycles, symptoms, timings etc ahead of time, I won't go into the in's and out's of trying (literally) but I will say that i'm very glad that we were lucky enough to conceive after only a few months and we're also secretly pleased that Tom's lucky pants really seemed to make a difference!

Tuesday 13th December (DPO12)
I took the first test as soon as I got up, knowing that my period was almost due.  I waited for the obligatory five minutes and when I stared down at the cheapo internet test, it wasn't stark white like it had been the previous month, there was something on it... could it be??  I took the test upstairs and woke Tom up.  I asked him if he could see something on there and he said that he could.  Both of us were not sure what this meant as there wasn't a line as such, but there wasn't not a line.  Anyway, I had a really big website presentation with my Managing Director that morning, so didn't want to think too much about what it could mean and I went to work as normal.

I got home that evening and did another test, this time with a more expensive First Response test and a beautiful strong line appeared straight away.  This. Was. It.  I. Was. Pregnant!

I honestly didn't know what to do then - I was shaking, in complete disbelief, excited, utterly shocked, and just mainly so excited to tell Tom.  He had just left work and would be back in 45 minutes - the longest of my life.  I called him to see where he was and I think I might have given it away a little during our conversation.  Suffice to say that when he arrived home and there was no dinner in the oven, I think he had an inkling that something was up.  I showed him the test and it was a very surreal moment.  Kind of like - OMG - right, wow - what do we do now then?  So, we went out for dinner to celebrate!

We went to a local Italian restaurant in Hersham, there was only one couple in there and the evening went by in a bit of a haze.  I had to literally look up everything on the menu to see if I could have it - I just didn't have a clue really!  We chatted about the next steps from here, when he/she might be due, how we were feeling and it was a nice, if a little random, evening.

I don't think I slept very much at all that night!  I was too excited, especially as I knew that I could tell Vic and Rocky in the next few days!

Symptoms at 3 weeks and 4 days  - NONE!

Helen (and Sparty 3+4)