Pregnancy Books and Apps

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Back when I first found out I was pregnant (and at that point was only anticipating one baby), one of the very first things my Mum treated me too was a pregnancy book. I know a lot of people say they are a waste of money but I love reading and I knew nothing about babies so it seemed like a good place to start!

Things obviously changed when we found out we were having twins and my reading material then doubled, if you excuse the terrible pun. Some were more useful than others, so I thought I'd give you a run down of all the books I've read so far and the apps which I've been using!

The Bump
Pretty much as soon as I had done the several pregnancy tests and it dawned on me I really was pregnant, it didn't take me long to do some rough calculations to the date of my last period. I was still in a state of shock and wondered how big the 'thing' that was supposed to be growing was. Whatever I searched brought up The Bump as the first app so I downloaded it. It was really informative and though the sizing was American, it did have really cool pictures and articles. I still use it now as I love the see inside the bump feature - where you can take a glimpse on what's happening on the inside. The only slight problem I have with this app which is common is although you can change the settings to twins/multiples, it doesn't actually change anything to show you two babies.

My Pregnancy 2016
Shortly after my doctor's visit to confirm the pregnancy, we told just our parents we were expecting. My Mum immediately got super excited and went on a shopping trip where she purchased this for. This book is a really concise and detailed guide that covers the NHS experience in the UK. It's been a really helpful resource that I've dipped in and out of during my pregnancy so far. Though it doesn't cover the finer details of multiples, it's been really handy to read about maternity allowance and the extra things we should apply for. I found out I was expecting in 2016 but the new 2017 edition is out now which you can purchase here.
Bounty Pregnancy App
My GP actually told me to download this app just before our first scan. I had told him how tired and rubbish I felt and he told me to download it and get myself the first pack from Boots! I'd heard about Bounty packs before from pregnant friends but assumed they were just what you got in hospital - turns out there are several throughout the different stages of pregnancy you can claim and the first one was a lifesaver. I popped on my free face mask, covered myself in moisturiser and felt like a new woman for all of a day! The app is full of lots of really useful articles, hints and tips and even has special features just for Dads. Whether you're a twin, single or multiple mum - I'd recommend you download this app.

The Unmumsy Mum
Jay actually bought this for me for Christmas. Although I knew I wanted to have a family one day, at the time I fell pregnant I wasn't I guess your usual 'Mum' and my brother described me as 'unmumsy.' I like to think they think of me like this because I'm quite laid back usually. Either way, this book is a hilarious insight into the many highs and lows of pregnancy and children. I really enjoyed reading it but I personally think if you're going to invest in this book, wait until you've given birth. It's a little bit like watching One Born Every Minute while pregnant... I'll leave it at that.
You can buy The Unmumsy Mum on Amazon here.
Double Trouble: Twins and How to Survive Them
After our early scan where we found out for the first time there was not one but two babies, I came home and cried down the phone to my best friend for an hour (or two), ate a bar of chocolate (or two), had a bubble bath and eventually pulled myself round to realising twins were such a blessing. I then did what any person who grew up alongside the internet would do - I googled. I came across Double Trouble on a forum and bought it straight away. It was published a few years ago but the majority of the information in it still stands (just not the bit about catalogue shopping becoming my best friend). It's a sound guide for knowing what your entitled to as a twin/multiple mum in the UK.
Click here to buy Double Trouble: Twins and How to Survive Them
A Contented House With Twins
A few weeks after finishing Double Trouble, I had a bit of a meltdown moment... I don't know what to do with one baby let alone two so another quick googling session eased my mind and told me all the answers would be in Gina Ford's, Contented House with Twins. A couple of months on, I'm not kidding myself that all the answers to a simple life with multiple babies is in here BUT it did give me lots of really good ideas around setting a routine. Not to mention planning the twins new nursery and helpful advice with regards to feeding. I wish I could be as organised as Gina Ford but I know I'm not going to be, this book made me feel a lot more confident though and for that I would recommend any twin or multiple mum give it a read.
You can buy Gina Ford's A Contented House with Twins here
Ovia Pregnancy App
Shivani recommended I download this and if you're expecting you have to download it! Jay and I have such fun each week clicking through the different objects to see what size the babies are! It's packed full of useful tips and what's going on in there and best of all features loads of yummy healthy recipes for pregnancy.

25 weeks into my pregnancy and so far that's all my reading material and apps (other than a whole load of boring NHS leaflets) - I absolutely love reading though so if you have any recommendations for books, apps or pregnancy blogs please let me know!

Week by Week Twin Pregnancy: 24 Weeks

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

This week I started to experience some of the more unpleasant pregnancy symptoms - although *touch wood* I do seem to have so far got a pretty easy ride compared to my pregnant friends. I've started to experience some Braxton Hicks which is apparently normal this early when you have twins - this isn't fun at all. And especially today I've been feeling extra tired and breathless. The good news is my bump is definitely growing and our girls love nothing better than having a good old kick about! We had another consultant appointment last Thursday and it's slowly dawned on me that in 12 weeks or possibly earlier, we'll double our little family size.

How Big are the Babies:
At our last scan, the girls were too big to get good pictures! They also wouldn't stay still which wasn't helping things either. Twin 1 weighs 1.4 whereas twin 2 is slightly behind at 1.2 - our consultant and twin midwife said this is completely normal but are keeping an extra close eye as modi twins have a high risk of developing TTTS. Luckily for us, our hospital are really good and continue fortnightly (and when needed weekly) scans all the way up to the birth. It's funny because I predicted this before our midwife told us - twin 1 is much more active and definitely has a firmer kick.

On certain days, I've felt like I'm full of jelly. It's definitely an odd symptom to describe but I've been assured it's just a sign I'm growing. On top of this, I've felt a lot of stretching - if I do too much, I start to feel like I'm been pulled from either side of my abs. My midwife casually said 'oh yes, this is just your ab muscles tearing!' Oh fun!
I'm also incredibly short of breath now and going up the stairs to Jay's office requires a half way break. Then on days like today, I'm breathless for no apparent reason! It makes me feel quite dizzy and the only thing that helps is lying down on my left hand side which proved rather interesting in B&Q the other day.

I've noticed I am eating bigger portions and I am trying to be careful about realising when I'm full and stopping eating. I don't get the full feeling that I used to and I'm guessing this is just because my stomach is probably in shock from two tiny humans growing near it!

Weight Gain:
As usual I have no idea and I don't really care. I did take my measurements from various parts of my body when I first found out I was pregnant and I haven't grown anywhere other than my bump. It's literally the only place I've put inches on whilst everywhere else has stayed the same. I honestly put this down to staying as active as I possibly can.

I'm finding life in general a lot harder lately. I can no longer reach to put my socks on (not easily anyway) and bending down is easy but getting back up is a nightmare. My aquanatal classes are definitely helping though and I've been making sure to go on plenty walks.

This week I've started to notice my sleep pattern changing - I'm still falling asleep around 9pm but I'm waking up a lot earlier. Around 4.30am/5am, I'm up for another trip to the bathroom and when I get back into bed I just can't seem to drop back off. I've been using this time to read as much as I can!

Other Notable Things:
We now have the keys for our new home as you may have already seen in this post. Things are already progressing and we'll be starting plastering this weekend with the hopes of been fully moved in by the first week in May!

Tomorrow morning I have another appointment with my community midwife, where as well as all the usual checks I have, she also said she'd be starting to help with applying for maternity allowance - so I'm looking forward to learning more about that!

I am starting to feel very unprepared though... perhaps it's the fact we're between homes and the one we're moving to isn't liveable but I'm looking forward to been able to unpack all the baby things. Though we have a lot of the bigger stuff, pushchair etc, I don't feel like I have anywhere near enough nappies, bath things and baby grows for them. I did manage to pick up the above pictured Aden + Anais musy squares from TK Maxx the other day but 5 musy squares aren't going to get me very far are they?! I also have nothing for my hospital bag and I got told by our consultant to make sure it's ready from now on! Eeek! Does anyone have any musts for what I should definitely buy?

Preparing for Twins - Farmhouse Restoration

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

One of my first thoughts I had when I found out we were having twins was 'Oh my goodness how will we fit in our house?' I'm the first to admit we hadn't really planned or prepared for one baby, let alone two so my initial reaction was panic. Thankfully unlike myself, Jay is the opposite of me and is calm, confident and doesn't panic in fairly unique situations like the one we were experiencing.

We're having MoDi (monochorionic diamniotic) twins, which means it's a high risk pregnancy because they share a placenta and are only separated by a very thin membrane - our midwife explained to me it's like a piece of clingfilm in a bag of water separating them! We were told upfront from the start that they will be delivered early at 36 weeks, that is if they don't arrive of their own accord before then which is common with this kind of twin pregnancy. So I was advised to rest as much as I could, not to stress and to get as much done as I could as soon as possible. I knew I was going to need lots of support and our house in Durham wasn't exactly near either of our families. So we took up the opportunity to move back to my family farm and restore one of the farmhouses there.

We received the keys this weekend and work has already begun on restoring the place, so I thought I'd share a few photos from the progress so far.

1. The house holds a lot of sentimental value to me as it is actually my Nan and Granddad's old home which sits across the way from my parents home. There is a path that runs all the way round the outside and it's where I learnt to ride my bike as a child. I have vague memories of myself swinging outside the kitchen window and leaping off into the garden (which is now extended driveway).

2. The views are just incredible - this is taken from the front on part of the driveway but behind the property if you walk past the garage, it's equally as pretty from all angles.

3. Been at home is not only going to be handy for when the twins arrive but also been able to just head out into the countryside for a quick walk is keeping my mind calm and my body well exercised. Since the sun was shining this weekend, my Mum joined me for several walks and it's lovely having time to bond with her more.

4. This is actually in my parents home - all my deliveries for the twins! Sorry about the mess Mum. Everything is packaged up until we can move it into the new house once it's ready so it's currently taking over her conservatory.

5. A little before of the kitchen which is obviously very dated. After much debate and help from Steve, our Kitchen Designer at MKM, we've gone with a traditional Shaker-style in an almost sage colour.  The kitchen was ripped out over the weekend and I'm so excited to see what it's going to look like when it starts to be installed.

6. This part of the dining area of the kitchen is staying! It'll be having a lick of paint and some TLC but I absolutely love our little log burner.

7. You'll see from the picture of the livingroom that there was a stone fireplace... well this now looks like this! After some rather horrendous loud drilling which I stayed well out the way of the stone is all gone. We're adding another woodburner here and I think it's going to be such a cosy space in the Autumn and Winter.

8. The light in the house is just incredible. It always feels so warm and inviting even on rainy days. Not to mention the views from all angles.

9. Our new Eames style chairs for the kitchen arrived and though we've only built one so far, they're perfect! This weekend has gone by in a bit of a blur and I'm so thankful to have Jay and our families all working on the preparations for our twins. I am obviously keeping out the way of all the heavy lifting and works and have instead been scouring the Next Home catalogue and Pinterest for design inspiration - my favourite kind of nesting!

The Green at Washington Village

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Back when I worked at the college, a colleague of mine, Kelly was starting a really exciting new project outside of education - she was opening a tearoom in an old disused library in Washington Village. I'd heard of the old library building before and knew it held a place close to many people's hearts in the village. The concept was a simple one, the green was to be filled with beautiful unique gifts, serve delicious tea and coffee and play home to a boutique florist. It sounded perfect and exactly the kind of place I would like to spend long lazy mornings. Due to work commitments, I had visited the green before but only to pop in and grab food to go and since getting pregnant I haven't caught up with friends nearly anywhere as much as I would have liked to. So when my friend Vicky suggested meeting for coffee in Washington, it was the obvious choice to spend a couple of hours catching up.

Describing itself as a 'concept store,' the green serves up delicious locally roasted GoldBox coffee and has the largest selection of organic loose tea I've ever seen. All the cakes, biscuits, scones, jams and chutney served are all homemade and without even been asked I was informed just to let them know if I had any gluten/wheat intolerances.

Vicky and I settled down into seats right by the window which was filled with flowers and the Spring sunshine. We'd ordered a decaf latte and Americano and set to catching up. I was sat in direct sight of the florist area which is never a good idea as I love flowers and I was already calculating how many bunches I could buy without Jay noticing.

The really lovely thing sbout the green is they also have a gorgeous workshop area out back which as well as been available for hire, also hosts regular community events. Coming up in April there's a Floral and Craftwood workshop which I would love to attend. I spied a leaflet advertising these and noticed on the inside they also do the yummiest sounding afternoon tea which I can't wait to go back for. I'm thinking I might even treat my Mum as a little thank you as she's been helping us so much with all the twin preparations.

The time flew by but I couldn't resist a nosey in the gifts and some flowers before leaving. I managed to resist buying any homewares from the gift section but did end up with Tulips and several bunches of Daffodils.

I had such a lovely time at the green - I kind of wish I wasn't moving further away now. The green is situated right in the heart of Washington Village and there's plenty parking around. If you're looking for somewhere a little bit quirky then it is simply a must-visit. Take a look at their website here for more information and directions and make sure you tell Kelly, Hi from me when you pay them a visit!