Q & A.

If, like me you are into Instagram then you will be all over Insta Stories either watching them or making them. When watching snippets of peoples lives in these small fifeteen second videos you can’t help but wonder things about them especially if you’re new to the party and don’t have any of their background details. In some ways you want to get caught up because otherwise it’s like watching a really good box set half way though but equally do you really want to message that person and be all: Errr please tell me more about yourself? I decided to open the floor …… Is that even a saying? Anyway, you know what I mean – I basically asked people if there was anything they wanted to know about me (in the least narcissistic way possible) or anything I could help with. The below is an amalgamation of what came back:

How did you deal with other people and their pregnancies / babies? In real life, seeing it over social media, out & about?

Some might disagree but personally I think I handled the whole situation really well. I didn’t miss any child related events, I even organized two baby showers during that time and always tried to be happy for other peoples happiness. Of course there were times when a friend or colleague told me that they were pregnant and I came home, ate a Bournville in the bath and cried but I never did this outwardly. I never wanted my situation to effect my relationships with friends or family, I never wanted to be treated differently because I didn’t want anyone else’s baby – I wanted my own. The thing is once you say & do things you can’t take them back and the way you handle situations like friends having a baby will effect your relationships forever because they will never forget the fact that you made them feel bad or awkward. I never wanted to be bitter and I wanted people to treat me normally and it made me sad that they would share their news with me in a certain way or that they would say things like I totally understand if it’s too difficult for you to come – obviously they thought they were doing right by me but for me it was a constant reminder that yes, my womb is still empty. With all that being said (and I’m aware this is a massive contradiction) one friend told me she was pregnant via letter which is literally one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. I found out her news at home where I could react however I needed to at that time. I could process it, cry it out, be angry and then respond to her once I was ready, once I was genuinely happy for her and due to that we still got to have a special moment in time where I was smiling with my eyes, not just my mouth. In regards to social media you choose what you see, if your seeing something that’s hurtful then unfollow that account so you don’t have to see it anymore, protect your own heart.

Where do you find your motivation to keep organized & prepared?

I am what you call a busy fool, yes I am organized and like to be prepared for every eventuality but I take my organization to the next level and at times create more work for myself than needs be. I drive my husband insane. What I will say is it’s not that I find motivation, it’s just something that’s always been in me. Even as a child I would set out my uniform the night before and make sure that my bag was packed double & sometimes triple checking things, I’ve always been a little OCD. Baby wise one thing I found in the early newborn days was that there was nothing that would make me feel shitter than forgetting something and then having to ask another Mum for said forgotten item. It made me feel like I had failed so it drove me to make sure that I was always as organized as possible. These days as much as I try to remember everything sometimes I don’t (especially now that I have to remember food, bibs and water beakers) however, I’m now comfortable in my motherhood and will happily shout across Baby Sensory asking a random for a nappy who then in turn usually says something like Ah I feel your pain, I forgot mine yesterday.

When doing IVF what vitamins did you take & the dosage?

OK, so sadly I didn’t make a note of the dosages but everything I did pre IVF Round II can be found in my blog post Preppin’ Like A G. As you can tell I made having a baby my mission and made a lot of changes, who knows if any of it worked/helped? I’m aware that some of it can be put into the Old Wives Tale category however, our second round was successful and noticeably different – just saying.

What advice would you give to someone that is about to start undergoing fertility related tests and then possibly move onto IVF?

Once you get on the infertility train you can’t get off until you reach your destination, whatever that might be. As soon as you start tests the world changes a little and life becomes about said tests, results, referrals and appointments – it can be so daunting. However, knowledge is power and once you know what the issue is you know how to fix it & you know what you need to do to move forward in order to get you to your end goal. Although that period of life was incredibly hard at times I also felt better once we were on the train as I felt like we were more in control, that we were being proactive and taking charge of our destiny, not pissing in the wind. Try not to let it take over your life (easier said than done I know), make sure you always have things to look forward to and put your feeling first. If you can’t handle going to a friends Baby Shower, don’t. Sometimes you have to push on through and other times you have to protect your heart and stay away from things that hurt. In regards to IVF, it isn’t THAT bad, don’t get me wrong it was a ball ache due to the sometimes daily appointments at the fertility clinic which was 30 miles away, stressful , emotional and at times painful but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Take each day at a time and get yourself a network, even if it’s by setting up an anonymous Instagram account and searching hashtags until you connect with people that are in a similar boat to you. That’s what I did and it made me feel so much better to actually find and talk to people that really undersood what I was going through. Lastly, be honest with your employer so you get the time off you need. We all know what bosses can be like I mean we can have nine inches of snow and they are still all So, what time will you be in? Therefor you need to be honest because IVF requires a lot of time out of the office. At some points I was at the clinic every day for nearly two weeks and would roll up to work at noon, I then over stimulated and was off work sick for a week, you then have your extraction and transfer and all you will feel like doing is sitting on the sofa watching TV and eating carbs – that’s a lot of days to try and fake some kind of sporadic illness. Be honest, get the support (or at least time off you need no questions asked) and eliminate the work anxiety because who needs that in their life?

Baby wise what items have you bought that were pointless and what things have you bought & loved?

What I will say is that I made too many assumptions on what our baby would be like. I purchased every item from Tesco’s toiletry section and ended up taking half of them back when she was a few months old. Not every baby gets cradle cap, not every baby gets colic or is constipated. Not all babies want a dummy (irrespective of how any types you buy) and although all the Baby To Buy lists say you need cotton wool, you don’t – never used the stuff on Em once. I wish I had bought the Nuna Leaf Chair from the get go as she would have used it from birth to this day, I really didn’t need to buy baby flannels and I could of held off on buying the bath mat as its still in a draw nine months later. I couldn’t live without our nappy bin, thermometer or baby carrier & although ethically I’m not down with Johnson’s their baby wash cloths have been a life saver because some days you just don’t have the energy to bath the baby. Nowadays I always have to because the washcloths are now smaller than Em but there was a time that they nearly covered her head to toe. I also couldn’t recommend Calpol Plug Ins enough (never knew they excised until I had a baby) or the IKEA highchair.

Where abouts do your family live up North & where did you live when you were younger?

The majority of my family live in and around Hartlepool so when visiting that’s where I always head, its kind of like the central hub for us all to meet. I was actually born in Newcastle, raised in Stockport and then moved down south to Buckinghamshire when I was 10 – once a Northerner, always a Northerner (I can feel my husbands eyes roll as I write that).

Did you go to university?

No, I wasn’t about that life. I’m just not academic and never had a desire to go to Uni – I just wanted to get out into the world and make money. I did do an NVQ Level 2 & 3 in Beauty Therapy – had the time of my life doing it but am yet to put it to any use within the working world, I have given friends some excellent make overs though.

How did you and your husband meet?

When I was 18 I got a job at a nightclub in Watford called Destiny, a year later I was promoted to Assistant Manager which meant a lot more responsibility including payroll for the Door Team. I went on holiday in May 2006 to the Dominican Republic and when I got back I noticed a new name on the payroll & asked my boss at the time who Ashley Chappell was. Her response was flippant, Oh just a new doorman we’ve brought in from Bracknell, he wont be staying long. That night while doing my pre opening checks I met Ash, introduced myself and then carried on with the rest of my list. The thing about Destiny that made working there so special was that there was a massive sense of family, everyone that worked there had amazing banter with each other and the more I got to know Ash the more we did too. It wasn’t long before he asked for my number at a staff party, I gave it to him and waited for him to text. Three days rolled by and I didn’t hear anything from him so I was pissed when I went into work that weekend refusing to acknowledge his existence. Turned out he took my number down incorrectly and actually sent what was a really cute text to some bloke in Yorkshire who responded taking the piss out of him. The following weekend we went on our first date to the cinema to see Pirates of The Caribbean, six months later we got engaged at Disney Land Paris and two months after that we were moving into our first home together. The rest as they say, is history. I would just like to say that all of that makes it sound like we had the perfect romance, in some ways we did but there was also that time he broke up with me when I was 21 (I refer to it as his quarter life crisis) but he came back, they always do.

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Putting In Work.

My parents raised me to be confident, maybe a little too confident at times. I was the child that always wanted to be (and usually got) the lead role in any and ever school play, the child that always aimed for the dance solo or the opportunity to give a reading during assembly. That child became the young woman that would be the first to dance on a bar channeling my inner Cyote Ugly, if there was a stripper pole in a club I would find it and swing round it like there was no tomorrow and if there was some kind of dance move (like the two step from Save The Last Dance) that was the current trend I would do it and hope that everyone was watching. That young woman grew up and became the wife that sang Shania Twain in nothing but a bikini and a towel, a towel that I later swung round my head whilst on a boat trip round the Med; I then made the entire boat sing Happy Birthday to Ashley – yes, I’m THAT girl. Being confident has meant that I’ve never been bothered about how I look, sometimes I wear make up, most of the time I don’t. I try to dress nicely but will happily pop to the shop in my bleach stained leggings, flip flops and baggy faded jumper like I did earlier this week because I NEEDED chocolate. I couldn’t care less if I see people that I know when I’m out and looking less than put together because I have always understood from a young age that clothes, make-up and all of that shit doesn’t define who I am, it doesn’t make me nice or funny – it’s just material BS. Due to this I haven’t really been that bothered about my post baby weight, don’t get me wrong I want to be the skinny bitch on the beach in one of those high leg swimsuits more than anything but I’m equally happy to be in a tankini (kinda). Therefore loosing the baby weight hasn’t been the be all and end all to me and I’ve eaten at least three pieces of cake a week for as long as I can remember. However, with all of the above being said I am so proud of myself for getting back to my pre life, pre IVF, pre baby weight. I always said nine months on, nine months off so to be here at eight and a half months postpartum and be at my goal weight gives me all the feels. The thing is, although all of the above is true there was a time where I hated my body, not because of how it looked but because of how it was failing me. I remember blogging about it at the time explaining how I wished that this wasn’t my body, how it had let me down and wasn’t doing the one thing it was supposed to. I now feel so differently and feel so proud of this body of mine because over the past two years its been through a lot. A failed round of IVF, a second round where I over stimulated and was SO poorly, a pregnancy, a C-section and since then this body of mine has been running on empty at times, running on zero sleep and nothing but coffee and convenience food without one of my five a day in sight. I now love my body, not for how it looks but for all that its survived, all that its given me and for not giving up. That’s why this year I am going to treat my body  little better, I’m going to drink more water, eat healthier and really focus on being gluten free, I’m going to walk more and take deeper breaths. Now that I have my tiny human being healthy has never been more important, I don’t care about how I look externally but internally? So much so, you only get one body and I want it to last me as long as long as possible (think old lady in Titanic) and its finally dawned on me that in order for that to happen you have to put in the work now.

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Pinwheelin’.

In my opinion there seems to be a large amount of pressure on parents to follow what is called Baby-led Weaning. It seems to be one of those cool things to do, like the new In way of feeding your baby. Oh you don’t follow baby-led weaning? One mum said to me at a baby group with sad eyes. No bitch, I follow the mantra of whatever works and for us a mix of the two is what seems to keep little Em’ happy. In some respects I guess we’re lucky that she will happily be spoon fed and then equally enjoys feeding herself (and Toby). I won’t lie, she has become very accustomed to that Ella’s Kitchen pouch life, whatever I make and puree down doesn’t seem to be half as tasty as the pouches so I’ve come to the realization of what does it matter? Like seriously, what does it matter if she eats more pouches than home made food? The pouches are organic, sugar free, salt free and are probably way more nutritious than anything I cook so I’ve left the I’m not preparing homemade food for my baby Mum guilt in 2017 and am cracking on with what works for us. One thing I have noticed is that baby food (especially when you are buying the likes of Ella’s Kitchen) is expensive so I wanted to make sure that the foods she feeds herself are cheap and easy to make. That’s when I discovered Pinwheels via The Gram – as the recipe is SO easy I thought I would give them a go as surely I (the girl who burns hot chocolate) could manage to make them? Well, make them I did and Em’ LOVED them! I plan on making a sweet version with apple sauce and after Googling I have come across a zillion different ideas, click here  for more info.

Ingredients

Pre-rolled puff pastry (I bought the light version)

Tomato puree

Grated Cheese

Method

Unravel the pastry

Cover it in tomato puree

Sprinkle all over in cheese

Roll back up (TIGHTLY) so you end up with what looks like a Swiss Roll

Using a sharp knife cut into pieces – I made mine about an inch thick

Pop on over tray sprayed with Frylight or equivalent

Bake for 20 min at 180 (fan oven) turning over half way

Bish, Bash, Bosh!

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