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Add an award-winning Dream i-Size Infant Carrier & Base with your Coast pushchair, designed for everyday strolls

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Our lightest, most compact multi-terrain pushchair, Tide is made for exploring. Includes Accessory pack with a changing rucksack, footmuff, phone holder and cup holder.

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Our lightest, most compact multi-terrain pushchair, Tide is made for exploring. With 4-wheel suspens...

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Dune, First Bed Carrycot & Dream i-Size Travel Pack Bundle

Combine your Dune pram with a Newborn Pod and an award-winning Dream i-Size infant carrier and Travel pack.

Dune, Compact Folding Carrycot & Dream i-Size Ultimate Pack Bundle

Everything you need with your Dune pram including a Compact Folding Carrycot, Dream i-Size infant carrier, changing bag, footmuff, phone holder and snack tray

Dune, Compact Folding Carrycot & Dream i-Size Travel Pack Bundle

Combine your Dune pram with a Compact Folding Carrycot and an award-winning Dream i-Size infant carrier

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My pregnancy diary: Part two

The ups and downs of the second and third trimester

Author Sophie Sharp
Categories   Third Trimester

The Edit

Back from my girls’ holiday and finally feeling more like myself, I was excited for our first NHS scan.

Our first NHS scan – 14 weeks pregnant

We’d had private scans previously, but this was the first time a medically trained sonographer would see baby. That of course came with a few nervous thoughts, but I pushed these aside and looked forward to our appointment at just short of 14 weeks pregnant.

The scan was a completely different experience to our previous ones, it was far less personal and felt very much like we were just ticking boxes. We left feeling a little deflated but relieved to know everything looked fine on the scan. 

We then felt ready to share the news with our wider friends and family and enjoyed sharing our scan picture with everyone. 

Planning for birth 

Through the early weeks of pregnancy, I had quite literally been losing sleep over thoughts of giving birth. When chatting to a friend about this, she mentioned The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill. I ordered it straight away and couldn’t put it down. I could not recommend it enough. Within just a few chapters, I had gone from feeling absolutely terrified to being genuinely so excited about birth. The book covers everything from how maternity wards operate to what our hormones do in the lead up to and during labour.

My main takeaway from the book was the understanding of oxytocin in labour – the love hormone. I read how promoting the release of oxytocin by feeling calm, safe and confident plays such a huge role in reducing pain and the chances of needing medical intervention. I started thinking about a home birth, knowing that hospitals make me anxious and that this would do nothing for keeping me calm. I mentioned it to Sam, my husband, who at first wasn’t convinced. I could totally understand this, but shared my reasons and asked him to read the book too.  

By our next midwife appointment, we were both fairly sold on the idea of a home birth and wanted to discuss this with them. I remember my midwife’s exact response so clearly – “People will say you’re brave, but I don’t think it’s brave, I think it makes total sense!” Oh! Phew! 

With my usual over-thinking, I had been panicking about requesting a home birth, worrying that it meant taking midwives away from the hospital and that it would be a huge inconvenience to them. My midwife told me the opposite was true and explained there are always two midwives on call for home births in the area, so I wouldn’t be taking anyone away from the labour ward. She recommended a few places to look for birth pools if I wanted one and set me off thinking about making a birth plan.

My ‘Plan A’ birth plan

I came across so many people turning their nose up at birth plans with the attitude of “You can’t plan for birth, anything could happen.” Of course, anything could happen, but to me this was like saying “You can’t revise for that exam, you don’t know what the questions will be.” 

I knew that feeling as prepared as possible would help me feel confident and therefore relaxed, so I found it helpful to have already considered my wishes and ideal responses to any situations that may be thrown our way. 

I used the icons from The Positive Birth Book to create my visual Birth Plan A (home birth), Plan B (hospital birth) and Plan C (caesarean).

I now felt like I could see the end goal and was excited to get there. Still, I had many weeks to go and a lot of growing to do.

A pregnant summer 

Of course, the hottest day ever recorded in UK history would be when I was 18 weeks pregnant! I felt so sorry for anyone even further along their pregnancy during those awfully sweaty days. 

I happened to be decorating our spare bedroom at the time, as my home office would be moving into there to make way for baby’s new bedroom. Painting in 40-degree heat is a rubbish idea at the best of times, never mind when you feel like you’re carrying a radiator! 

I found those days a real struggle. Sam caught me a couple of times laying as flat as possible on the cold kitchen floor! I even resorted to working with an ice pack tucked into the back of my bra. I was drinking so much water and had a newfound obsession for iced mochas (decaf of course!). 

My morning sickness was way behind me at this point and I was so happy to be enjoying food again. I developed such a sweet tooth and was in love with dark chocolate. 

Heatwave aside, I was feeling great. I was still enjoying the odd little run here and there and wanted to keep running throughout my pregnancy for as long as it felt comfortable. It wasn’t anything to do with trying to keep fit or ‘in shape’, but more to keep my mind clear and focused. I borrowed a bump support from a friend and stuck to around 5km runs. These got slower and slower each time, but I didn’t care at all, I was just glad to be able to do it and felt so grateful for my healthy body. 

Sam and his new wheels! The Silver Cross Wave

Preparing for baby 

At 20 weeks, we had the option to find out baby’s sex. Sam really, really wanted to keep it as a surprise, but I was desperate to know. My reasons for this tied me in knots. I would never raise a girl differently to a boy or vice versa. I am not someone who goes for pink or blue and gender reveals. I really didn’t care who they were as long as they arrived safe and healthy.  

However, it was driving me mad not knowing. I guess it could be said I am a little bit of a control freak… If there is information there, I want to have it! I felt as though if I could picture baby as a boy or a girl with a name, I would feel better prepared, but I knew deep down that this was rubbish. 

We decided not to find out and agreed that if in another few weeks’ time I was still desperate to know, we could book another scan. As soon as we walked away from the 20 weeks scan knowing everything looked fine, I was no longer bothered about finding out the sex and I hardly thought about it again. By that point, for some unknown reason, I had convinced myself that baby was a girl anyway. 

We chose a beautiful hot air balloon mural for baby’s bedroom and ordered our Silver Cross Westport Cot Bed, Dresser and Wardrobe. I immediately set about filling it with little outfits and enough baby grows to sink a ship. 

We started to think about work and paternity leave. I work for myself, so we did a little research and found that Sam was entitled to take a full year of leave as I wouldn’t be taking anything. We bounced ideas back and forth and eventually settled on Sam taking 6 months off. We also decided I would totally switch off from all of my work throughout January, then slowly pick things back up from February onwards. 

At the time, this sounded like it was going to be a breeze. Looking back now, I laugh at how wrong we were! 

I knew I wanted to breastfeed, so we started researching how this would work once I was back to work – expressing, storing, sterilising, bottle feeding etc. I found myself feeling overwhelmed by conflicting information and advice. Of course, by this point my Instagram algorithm knew I was pregnant, and I started to be served advert after advert for gadgets and devices we would ‘need’ for baby. I was starting to feel panicky and so we stopped looking into things like this. 

We decided to shop for everything we knew we would need – clothes, nappies, pram, car seat etc. Anything else, we decided we would buy once baby was here, as and when we felt we needed it. We knew with the help of family and friends, we could just figure things out as we go. 

27 weeks – baby’s first boat trip!

Just the two of us 

We decided to book a little babymoon and were lucky enough to spend a week exploring some of Greece. I was 27 weeks pregnant by this point, meaning we would be flying home at the start of my third trimester. I read that I would need a doctor’s note just in case the airline requested it. I organised this, checked our travel insurance, stocked up on factor 50 sunscreen and dug out my flight socks! 

We set off to Athens for a few days before heading across to Santorini. It was absolute bliss and we soaked up our last holiday (for a long while!) with peace and quiet for just the two of us. I seemed to cope better with the heat than I had in Ibiza at 12 weeks pregnant. Perhaps my hormones were a little more balanced this time around. 

However, by this stage, I was feeling very heavy and my lungs definitely weren’t where they should be! I found climbing all of the steps incredibly hard and I was so easily out of breath. I had to practice patience and remind myself I was in fact carrying a whole human around with me! 

We ate so much fresh fruit and salads, swam in the ocean and enjoyed the sunsets. I came home feeling so grateful and refreshed.  

The final few weeks 

We came back home feeling we were much closer to meeting baby. It wasn’t long before Christmas lights started appearing in our home town, and with a Christmas Day due date this was both daunting and exciting. 

I went along to a routine midwife appointment at 31 weeks feeling really positive. I had been lucky enough to see the same midwife at most of my appointments, so I felt I had a good connection with her. 

She did all the usual checks, including measuring my bump from my pubic bone up to my belly button - something I always thought was a little archaic! These measurements were plotted onto a graph each time so we could see the pattern of growth. 

Unfortunately, she told me that bump wasn’t plotting where she would expect it to – meaning I hadn’t grown as much as they would consider normal. It was a Friday afternoon and she referred me to hospital for a growth scan on the Monday morning. She also told me that according to the blood tests taken at my last appointment, my iron levels had dropped too low. 

I left feeling like a failure and all the wind was knocked out of my sails. I had been feeling so physically and mentally prepared for birth, but I now started to doubt myself. Maybe this isn’t as easy as I’d thought. Have I been completely naive? Can I do this? 

I managed to calm my panic over the weekend, I even felt a little angry that such a basic measurement could cause so much stress. The midwife had said she wasn’t concerned and she could have got a totally different reading just an hour later if baby had changed positions.   

I had met a few people who had declined growth scans, but I decided to treat it as an extra look at baby and another chance to check in on them. The scan showed no concerns (other than baby was yet to turn head down) and I came away with some extra scan pictures. Only this time, baby’s body couldn’t fit on the screen! 

I took a sachet of Spatone every morning to help boost my iron and slowly got back on track. 

Earlier in the year I had agreed on a new premises for my business, but due to delays I didn’t get the keys until I was 36 weeks pregnant. Me being me, I was on a mission to get it all painted, desks and shelves built, and everything moved in.

I was careful not to lift anything too heavy and was sensible enough to ask for help with that sort of thing. But there I was again, armed with a paint roller. Only this time around my throat hurt with heartburn every time I leant over and my muscles and joints felt absolutely battered.  

In my mind, if I could just get everything sorted by 39 weeks, I could then lock up, switch off and relax in time for baby coming. In hindsight, this was a stupid idea. I completely burned myself out, was in constant pain from head to toe and then picked up a bug that wiped me out for days.  

I had to stop working for a week to get myself better, fearing if I went into labour now that I couldn’t physically cope with it. My midwife told me there was very little chance that baby would come while I was so ill, my body knew it was definitely not showtime.

I was prescribed a course of antibiotics and spent a few days curled up in bed. I was also battling thrush, possibly because of the antibiotics, and was struggling with pelvic girdle pain and haemorrhoids from the pressure of baby. All the not so glamourous things people rarely tell you about. I was well and truly fed up with pregnancy by this point and was guilty of wishing those last couple of weeks away.  

37 weeks pregnant – my last run before baby arrived, a very slow and steady one with friends

Finally, at 39 weeks pregnant, I started to feel better. I managed to tick off some jobs that had been on my mind, hand over a couple of work projects and think about putting my feet up. On 23rd December, I switched on the ‘out of office’ on my emails and headed out for a Christmas meal with a big group of friends. 

I remember sitting back, looking up and down the long table and feeling so much love for everyone there. I absolutely love Christmas and it means the world to me when everyone manages to get together. I thought to myself, “If this doesn’t kickstart the oxytocin, nothing will.” Sure enough, I woke early the following morning, on Christmas Eve, with what I now know was the very early stages of labour. Finally, it was showtime! 

My tips for preparing for your first baby 

  • Keep yourself as healthy as possible, even if it’s just a few stretches in the morning. It’s great for your mind and your body and will keep you feeling like you. 
  • But! If there are days where you want to do nothing but snack all day in your PJs – do it! 
  • Do plenty of research on birth, that way you can think clearly about what you would like to happen in certain situations instead of having options thrown at you in the middle of labour. 
  • That said, be careful where you get your information. Instagrammers are not (usually) midwives or medical professionals!  
  • Be kind to yourself. If you need to rest – then rest! I learned this the hard way.  
  • Remember that this is one of the most incredible journeys you will ever find yourself on. Enjoy the scans, take pictures of your bump, let people give you their seat. You deserve it!  
  • Try to enjoy the chances you get to be by yourself… running with two hands free, nipping out quickly at a moment’s notice, taking a long shower. You’ll miss this for a while!
  • Keep going mamma, you’re a real-life super hero! 

 Read part three – my birth story – here.

Author Sophie Sharp


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