Monthly Archives: October 2011

Tips for new mommys, from a new mommy!

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This post isn’t meant to be condescending, a new mommy giving baby tips sounds crazy. But a lot can be said for learning on the job. I also think I should write it down so I don’t forget for next time!
I was so fortunate when pregnant, I had two very close friends who had babies a few months before. So I pestered both of them for advice on everything while trying to prepare myself for motherhood. My cousin was also pregnant while I was pregnant and so was my neighbour! So every ache and pain or unexplained symptom had me on the phone comparing! I had a very easy pregnancy (asides from becoming as wide as I am tall) but I was still worried about everything!
*There might be a bit of tmi in this post!*
So firstly here are my tips for pregnancy:
1. The first 7 weeks or so are sore (apparently not for everyone but they were really bad for me) it feels like the worst period pain I’ve ever had- before labour anyway. Google says its when the egg is implanting, I don’t know but I know I was in agony.
2. When you pee on the stick and get two pink lines, you’re already 4 weeks pregnant.
3. Your first doctors appointment is an internal, he’s going to stick a long baton like thing up you. Its not pleasant but get used to it! Not much about pregnancy is
4. You may bleed in the first trimester. Its terrifying. Go to the doctor and get progesterone and take it easy.
5.Use a hot water bottle or bean bag for leg cramps, back ache and throwing at the cat when he’s meowing at the door- you’re not going to want to get up.
6.Ginger ale for nausea
7.Gaviscon for heart burn, that is made worse by the ginger ale
8.Get used to stepping over things you’ve dropped on the floor, hubby will have to pick them up later, you’re not going to get up again if you bend for them.
9. Think twice before you sit or lie down. Do you need to pee? Do you have something to drink or eat near you? Your phone? The remote? You’re not going to want to get up again in a hurry.
10. Labour hurts, but its amazing. You want to experience it, you’ll feel so strong and powerful afterwards.
11. Episiotomys hurt too. Buy lots and lots of salt. You can’t have enough, seriously.
12. Use the maternity sanitary towels, you’re going to need them and they’re much softer than the normal ones- we like soft after all the trauma.

Now tips for life with baby:
1. Breastfeeding isn’t easy. Its not instinctual and needs to be worked at by both of you. While pregnant read as much as you can about it, go to work shops and antenatal classes and prepare yourself mentally for it. Then persevere. You can cry, its ok. Just persevere and you’ll get it. Ask the nurses for help but if you’re prepared for it, trust yourself enough to know when you’re doing it right. The nurses and midwives give conflicting advice and make you doubt yourself. Drink at least 3l of liquid every single day, or you’ll become dehydrated.
2. If you have to top up with formula once or twice do it. You might cry again (I did, a lot) but its really scary when your baby is crying and your milk hasn’t come in yet and you’re exhausted. Just try not do it more than once or twice, because it messes with their tummys.
3. Baby HAS TO SUCK to bring on your milk. Expressing isn’t the same.
4. Put lots of vaseline on baby bum so the first few black poos come off easily
5. Take it easy for the first 2 weeks, or you might tear your stitches like I did. Not fun.
6. The books say babies sleep something like 18 hrs a day. They don’t, well mine doesn’t. So don’t expect to get much done, especially since as soon as she goes to sleep you’re going to want to sleep.
7. Cook lots of meals for the freezer so that you don’t have to live on toast and peanut butter.
8. Babies are noisy, even when they’re not crying.
9. Here’s a confession. I poke Lily a good few times throughout the night to make sure she’s still breathing. I’m telling myself this is normal, so I’m telling you its normal too!
10. Use a dummy. Ignore the advice in the hospital to not use it. Use it. Its a life saver.
11. Buy sanitising hand gel and put it all over the house and in your nappy bag. You don’t want peoples dirty hands on your nice clean baby
12. Expect to cry. Its ok, you don’t need to know why you’re crying.
13. Swaddling, rocking and singing is the best way to calm a crying baby. Even when you don’t know the words and make them up as you go along.
14. Everyone will tell you to not be quiet around a sleeping baby so that they get used to sleeping in noise. Lily is such a light sleeper that the click of the door closing wakes her up. After rocking and singing for an hour to put her to sleep, there is no way I’m going to let the ringing phone wake her up again. I might suffer for this in the future but in the meantime it saves my sanity.
15. Finally, be prepared to be puked on and pooed on. Its not the end of the world.
16. One more. Guilt! I’ve never felt such guilt over such stupid things. You’ll see, just you wait.

Xox

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Things to remember

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Reading Learner Moms blog post of things she used most with her babies got me thinking. So far I’ve used pretty much everything I have, and as Lily is only 8 weeks old anything I haven’t used I’m sure will be used as she gets a bit bigger. There are a few things that I need to remember though, for my next pregnancy. Like what was invaluable in the hospital and what took up unnecessary space in my carefully packed (and repacked) bag.

Things I needed:
*Salt and lots of it. (I bathed in salt at the very least once a day, going through about 2 or 3 kgs a week. It was the only thing that helped)

*Sparkles for labour (the gas and air dries out your mouth so much and your not allowed to drink water- which I still think is ridiculous. Eventually after me begging them they said I could have one sip of water. About 15 mins after that I was gagging & they blamed the single sip of water. But I was only gagging because my mouth was too dry to swallow! The sparkles also helped with my blood sugar. You’re not allowed to eat either, but labour is hard hard work, like running a marathon on an empty stomach. So my blood sugar dropped. When I told them I was nauseous because my blood sugar was low they said that’s not why its because I had a sip of water. Seriously you can’t make this stuff up. So ridiculous. I know what it feels like to have love blood sugar, I’ve been hypoglycemic for as long as I can remember and I know what it feels like.)

*Disposable underwear and maternity pads.

*Front opening pyjamas

* face cloth (is there a more wonderful feeling than having your face wiped with a cool face cloth while in labour? I think not)

* Cellphone (so I could tweet and facebook) camera and chargers

Things I didn’t need:
* 2 books and 2 magazines. I sort of paged through the mags but didn’t focus on them at all.

* iPod

Wow. Seems I didn’t pack to badly actually. I used most of the things I packed. In the days leading up to the birth my biggest concern was going into labour with dirty hair. I went so far as to buy dry shampoo! I used it once, just before I left the hospital. The rest of the time I had it plaited and didn’t think about it at all!

Things I’ve used most for Lily:
Cotton wool
Wet wipes
Nappies (duh)
Towelling nappies for spit ups- you can never have to many!
Baby grows that fasten in the front. (Shaun still hates pulling them over her head!) Dummies! Life savers!
Angel care monitor
Singing bouncing vibing chair
Baby wrap. Means I have my hands free and she calms down so quickly when she’s snuggled against my chest

Right she’s asleep again so off I go!
Xox
Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!

Immunisations

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So, the time has come for the dreaded immunisations, every mothers worst nightmare. I swear we hype it up in our minds so much that its no wonder the babies cry! I decided to take her to the free clinic, to pay 1500-00 for her jabs every month was just not feasible. I was terrified. I hate injections when I have to get them myself, but to watch someone inject my most precious bean would be much worse! All my friends offered to come with me but I asked Shaun if he’d come. That didn’t work though, the place was so busy and we only had half an hour. So I said I’d suck it up and go back that afternoon alone. I then cried. A lot. I have NO IDEA why! I was so emotional that I had to give myself a very stern talking to. After some wise calming words and half a bottle of rescue, I was ready to try again. Only to be told to come back on wednesday when they weren’t as busy.
So that brings us to Wednesday. With my dear friend Kerry offering moral support, I tackled the dreaded clinic for the third time. We sat for 2 hours but eventually got into a little room where she was weighed. I had to hold her leg so that the doctor could inject her. I was looking into her eyes talking to her when suddenly her little face screwed up and she started crying. We had to do this 3 times! As soon as it was over I fed her and she calmed down almost instantly. Shame Kerrys little boy then had to have his done, he’s two and so can fully understand what’s happening. He was very brave though and by the time we left the clinic was back to his happy self. I was so worried about it for nothing. Lily slept most of the day and when she did start fussing I put her in the baby wrap and she went straight back to sleep. I was very proud of both of us, I kept calm and didn’t cry or get upset and she settled down so quickly. Such a brave girl!
I’m glad its over though, until the 24th when we have to go through it all over again! Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!

Smiles

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I am just loving being a mother. 

Don’t get me wrong, its not easy. Getting up every four hours at night is exhausting, and I find if she wakes up after 3 and a half hours I can actually cry. Just that half an hour is so important to me! Breastfeeding is also not that easy, being the only one who can feed my precious one and spending hours sitting alone in rooms at parties, isn’t fun. As for the projectile vomiting and explosive pooing… Well that’s another story all together!

But all in all? Its much easier than I thought it would be! I don’t know what I expected, but I really thought it would be worse. I expected much less sleep and I expected breastfeeding to be really painful. The stories everyone told me, I was convinced I’d be a tired bleeding nippled crazy person. But I’m not. Well I am still a crazy person, due to sleep deprivation! But I still function ok.

I still feel incredibly incompetent most of the time. I don’t seem to ever know what to do when, and I’m constantly sending messages to all my other mommy friends asking for help and advice. Thankfully they’re all fantastic and offer constant reassurance and support.

Things I haven’t figures out yet:
1. How to breastfeed or express without getting full of milk or getting Lily full of milk. The other day I somehow managed to spray her in the eye. I laughed for ages about that, which probably makes me a bad mommy but she didn’t seem to fazed.
2. How to avoid getting Lilys clothes, changing mat and myself full of poo when I change a poo nappy.
3. How to shower, bath or go to the toilet during the day when I don’t have someone to watch her.
4. How to avoid sneezing as soon as she FINALLY falls asleep after trying to get her down for ages. Resulting in a spectacular splayed arms, wide eyed fright!
5. How to have my usual cup of coffee while its still hot in the morning. I’m to scared to drink it while holding/feeding her because I’m a notoriously bad drinker and I’m worried I spill on her. Haven’t had a hot cup of coffee in ages!
6. I still don’t know the words to most of the lullabies and baby songs that seem to calm her down. So I either sing twinkle twinkle little star on repeat or I make them up.
7. How to have a conversation on the phone that is not ended with, I have to go Lilys crying/hungry/awake.
8. How to not drop everything I’m doing to smile and laugh when she smiles at me. When I look at her and get a sparkly eyed smile back, I can’t carry on doing what I was planning on doing, I have to smile and laugh and cuddle my sweetheart. This is mostly why I don’t get anything done during the day!

Things I have mastered!
1. How to eat any meal with my fingers, left handed. Lily always seems to be hungry as soon as I sit down for a meal. And its very hard to eat with a fork when you have to do it one handed with a baby latched onto your chest, so I use my fingers. Not the most polite thing to do I know, but if I didn’t, I’d starve.
2. How to eat a meal in 5 mins flat. When I do get chance to eat without feeding her, I eat so fast because I’m SURE she’s gonna kick off any second.
3. Changing a wet nappy before nighttime feeds before she wakes up enough to start crying. Quick quick quick!
4. Typing blog posts/ twitter status/ facebook status/ emails or bbms with one hand on my BB
5. Night time feeds. I’m so organised they go by so easily.
6. Swaddling
7.Waking up just before she wakes for a feed, thereby avoiding any crying!
8. Singing, rocking and reading my twitter feed at the same time.

Like I’ve said in a previous post (101 things about me) all I’ve ever wanted is to be a mother, and its better than I ever thought it would be!

Puking, pooing and lack of sleep

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So we’re a little over 3 weeks onto our new lives, and what a three weeks its been! The first few days in the hospital we’re actually nice. Shaun took time off work so he came in at 8am and left at 8pm (usually a bit later, he’d push it until they kicked him out). The first night I was so exhausted, I had woken up on Wednesday morning at 8, slept from 12 till 2 that night and then nothing until 11pm on friday evening, where I was to be found a sobbing heap with a screaming baby who couldn’t latch. It was a nightmare. I didn’t know what to do and I was beyond exhausted. Eventually a nurse came in to see what was up and I begged her to take Lily to the nursery so that I could just sleep for an hour. Her response? No sorry the nursery is closed tonight because we’re having a maternity open day tomorrow. So we’re only taking first night babies. Whew I thought, good my baby is a first night baby! Oh no she says, only ceasar babies. So I cried some more and asked her to just help me feed her. Eventually she saw that I was just not coping and said she’d take her, but would have to give her a top up feed of formula. Although I had been so adamant not to give her formula, I agreed. Its very difficult to stick to your guns when your baby is hungry! So I slept for four blissful hours and went to fetch her. She had also slept and eaten and was much happier. That night she had to go under the lights because she was a bit jaundice from the vacuum the used to pull her out. That was so traumatic! Now I can see that I was being overly dramatic but I was tired and scared and overwhelmed and she was all alone in the incubator with these little sunglasses stuck over her eyes and no clothes on and SCREAMING. She was meant to stay with me in a private room but I just couldn’t take seeing her cry like that so they took her to the nursery. Again she had to have top up formula feeds, because under the lights they can dehydrate. The next day we went home, so wonderful to be in my own home with my own things! That night I gave her a bit of formula because she was hungry, but the next day my milk came in and since then we’ve had no problems. 

She has pooed on Shaun and mom, ha ha. So funny! As soon as they open her nappy to change her it all squirts out! Ha ha. She also has a bit of a puking problem and she puked all over all of us. She projectile pukes and manages to totally cover us. So much that you have to change your outfit all the way to underwear. Ha ha. So now I have to hold her upright for 30mins after each feed so her tummy settles. Difficult to do at 3am when I’m exhausted but worth it. She slept in a two hour routine at first but is now on a 3.5 or 4hour one which is much better. I sleep with her when I can, which means that not much else gets done!
She’s very very sweet and shaun and I are very much in love with her. We’re slowly finding our feet and getting used to things. I’m breastfeeding and its going well, although I I can understand the allure of bottle feeding. Much more socially acceptable to whip out a bottle than a boob!

Birth Story

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On Wednesday morning we had a doctors appointment. Lily was 38 weeks and weighed approx 3.7. The doctor took my blood pressure & it was 150/90 or something along those lines. I have never had high blood pressure always on the low side so this meant nothing to me when he told me. He wasn’t happy though & after one of the fabulous internal examinations we all know and love he said she’s ready to come out. She was very low & I was about 1cm dilated already. Cervix was soft & all was fine so he scheduled an induction. I had to check into the labour ward at 10 that night and would be induced at 3 the following morning. I wasn’t freaked out or worried, I was mentally prepared for a day in labour. I knew I was going to have an epidural and before that had practised my breathing and spiralling on the ball. Shaun and I went for dinner & then I had a bath and we went to the hospital. He hung out until about 11.30 then went home to sleep and I tried to sleep a bit as well. At 12 I was woken up to fill in forms but finally got to sleep about 12.30. At 3 I woke myself up and they induced me using this tampon kind of thing. Shaun arrived just after with coffee and we started our day. I was counting on her being out that evening, thinking worst case scenario. Doctor came in at 8 and checked and I was still the same as before. He told me to just take it easy because blood pressure was still high and that the sister would check again in 4 hours. So we killed time, getting more and more tired but happy and excited until 12, when they said I was still only 1cm. I was having very mild contractions but could hardly feel them. The doctor ordered Pethadine for me anyway which I refused because I’ve only heard bad things and there really wasn’t much pain. So we then spent until 5 hanging out & trying very unsuccessfully to rest. Then the women in the labour room next door had a fast birth. The story is a bit skewed, what we overheard was that the nurses weren’t paying much attention to her and suddenly she had the baby unassisted. The nurses said that they were trying to contact the anaesthetist and while they were on the phone she delivered. Whatever happened the doc came in and let rip and yelled at all of them! Not to long after that there was a women whose baby went into distress and had to be rushed off for an emergency c section. I was walking the corridor willing something to happen and the matron rushed past and yelled “you’re in charge!” I was the only one not in pain yet! ha ha. At 5 the doctor came in and said I still wasnt progressing so he broke my waters- that was so weird! So much liquid pouring out of me and nothing I could do! Doctor advised I get the epidural as soon as possible because would start being very sore. So we moved to the delivery room and the nurses called for the anaesthetist. All of them were in surgery! So they called and called and eventually for Dr Jacobs who was on a bicycle ride near the hospital and said he’d come do it. He arrived all sweaty and in his riding stuff! They put a drip up- with a big nasty needle in my hand, which was quite sore but I am a real baby when it comes to needles. The doc gave me a local which stung and dint really numb anything at all and started with the epidural. I had to sit on the side of the bed and curve my back with a sister standing in front of me holding me still while he did it. It was pretty sore, like severe pressure. So he said ok your numb and I said no I’m not! So he turned it up and said now I must be and I still wasn’t but was feeling something-or lack there of- on my right side. So he waited until I said yes its numb but only my right side. He didn’t believe me and pinched my right side and I yelled! So he decided to do it again. So back up and we started all over again, this time i didn’t feel the epidural needle at all because the local had finally kicked in. This made my right side even deader and my left side started feeling better except for my hip. I got the shivers and started being a bit loopy and they said ok cool its working and he left, I think his exact words were “you can read a newspaper now, I’ve given you such a strong dose”. Nows where the fun started! I was lying on my left side and started feeling the contractions really strongly. I told the sister and she suggested I roll onto the other side because maybe I’m blocking the drip. As they rolled me I felt the needle in my back stick in something. I told the sister and she said no its flat it can’t get caught. I asked again and she said there is no way. So I rolled over and it got worse! As I was breathing through a strong contraction the gyne came in & asked why I was in pain. So I told him the epidural wasn’t woking on my left. He said I must definitely be lying on the side its not working on so that it can pool on that side. So they moved me again and again I felt the needle catch. I told the doctor and he said  that its fine and checked it but said all is ok. He wanted me to feel the contractions a bit as it would help me push. He then checked and said I was only 3cms and I needed to progress quickly now because we were running out of time. He said I had until 11 or would have to go for a c section. So he was going to give me a drug to speed up the contractions. He said it would be fine because I had the epidural so its not a problem that they’ll be much more intense, but if they are to much I must have the gas to just help me a bit. He then decided to move my catheter that they had stuck on my leg with plaster. He ripped the plaster off and I screamed! Finally he believed I wasn’t numb! So he turned the epidural up and said it will definitely start working now, one of the sisters must have turned it down he said. So he gave me this stuff into the drip called something with an S, to speed them up and he left. Wow. Within 2 contractions I was begging for the gas. The nurses said that the epidural had been turned down again and everyone was blaming everyone else, I swear no one touched that epidural so I have no idea what they were on about it, but all I wanted was the gas. They FINALLY after about 3 months worth of contractions bought it to me. By this stage my whole body was back to normal except for my right leg which was absolutely totally dead. I was having a contraction every minute or so and sucking the gas like it was life blood- and it really was. I can’t remember half of what happened but I remember begging Shaun to call the doctor for a c section, saying that I couldn’t go on, and that this was a really dumb idea-whose idea was it to have a baby anyway! I begged them to help me and call the doctor, but for 3 hours nothing happened. Then the gas ran out. Yes seriously! I felt it run out and told Shaun, but he said no no its in my mind its fine, still full. I made him go tell them it had run out and he did but he kept telling me it was full, because he knew already that it was finished and there was no more, the nurses were running around the hospital trying to find more. He was hoping placebo effect would kick in, and id think it was working. Well, it didn’t. I still sucked on it with all my might but it was gone. Then my first angel arrived, in the form of an ICU midwife who had checked me in on wednesday night. She came to say hi and see how we were doing and saw the situation and cracked the whip. She made the labour staff call another anaesthetist and ask him to come and see what the problem was. I still had the epidural pumping into me with the needle in my back, but all I had was a totally dead leg. She then set about trying to find more gas. I was screaming, and cursing the hospital and the staff. I’m not a confrontational person at all, and would never swear at another person for incompetence, but I wasn’t me. I was a crazy maniac. I was swearing and screaming and crying. I just wanted a rest, just a few minutes where I could catch my breath, but the contractions were coming so fast. Finally my second angel arrived, Dr Dennis looked at the epidural and said all looked fine, what the hell was going on? They then checked to see how far I was and I was 9 cms, basically ready to go. The Doc said he’ll redo the epidural and the midwife said no he can’t because I was to far. I then screamed at her to get me more bleeping gas then because I wasn’t going to survive another second! The doctor, being the wonderful man he is, put his foot down and said I needed a new epidural, what’s the point of having it in there if I was still in agony? So I had to sit up and keep as still as possible during the contractions while he did it. The midwife stood in front of me and braced me up against her and they kicked shaun out. I nearly stuck my fingers right through her arm, but I didn’t move. He took the plaster off and the epidural had fallen out. I TOLD THEM! I had told them over and over that it had caught on something and no one believed me! And it was out! He then put another one in, that took forever but I started to go numb about 15 mins after he was finished. This time my left side was dead and I could feel my right side, but thakfully it was about 70% numb so the contractions were manageable. It was 1 am now and I knew I needed to try rest and regain my strength so I could push her out. The doc hadn’t connected the epidural to a drip, he had given me a full dose that would last an hour. I knew that she’d take longer than that but they all seemed to think she would be here soon. So an hour later it started to wear off again, and the sister called him and he gave directions over the phone. She then gave me that dose and I was happy again. They told me to call them when I needed to push and we both tried to sleep a bit and regain out strength. I slept in 15 minute spurts because was having my pressure tested every 15mins but even that was just enough to pull myself together. I called them when I felt she was close and they called the doc and I woke up shaun. Doc then arrived and I was put into stirrups and moved into position and told how to push. I don’t know how long that took, maybe half an hour, but I have no idea to be honest. I had to wait for a contraction ans take a deep breath then push without letting my breath out. wow, such hard work! She got stuck and had to be helped out using the vacuum which I hadn’t wanted but there is no way your going to say that when your baby is in trouble! Suddenly she was out and on my chest and then gone again. She was pretty blue and had a score of 6 but within 5 mins she was a perfect 10. I then delivered the placenta and was stitched up, all the while shouting directions to Shaun to talk to her and not leave her alone and phone the parents and do this and that. Ha ha my wonderful patient husband. They then bought her to me again to hold and she was crying but as soon as I spoke to her she stopped and looked at me. It was such a beautiful moment. I had a chat with her then shaun did and then she had to go into the incubator because was very cold. Finally, it was over! My baby girl weighed 3.64 and was a healthy and gorgeous little bundle. She’s so perfect! Her head is pretty swollen and bruised but everyone assures me that she is fine and it will go down soon. She got a bit of jaundice from that and had to go under the lights but she’s fine and we’re both so in love with her! What an absolute blessing we have been given!

packing and panicking

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For the last 3 weeks or so I have been packing and repacking and repacking my bag and Lilys bag for the hospital. I’ve changed the bag I’ve been using twice and landed up with my first choice again. Pretty much every second or third day I go through all the stuff I’ve packed up to now and usually add something or take something out. Its really quite ridiculous, but it makes me feel so much more in control-in a situation that Im absolutely controlless (I do’nt think that’s a word but it sums up what I’m feeling). I have packed 4 outfits for Lily (and told Shaun which one is for her to wear when- I just hope he remembers! Yes it is important!) as well as a receiver and a fluffy blanket and a teddy bear- just in case she has to be away from me so shes not alone.  I’ve also packed her a dummy, bottle (for just in case), toiletries, wet wipes and nappies. I’ve packed it all in her gorgeous Lou Harvey nappy bag that my mom bought us, its amazing!

For me I’ve used a pink duffel bag I bought in Bali and I’ve got a pair of PJs (I need at least one more pair-possibly 2 more) and slippers and a gown (that doesnt close but will hopefully after). I’ve also got a book called “how to crack an egg with one hand” that my mom bought me-full of useful stuff for moms.

Also toiletries, cell phone charger, my notebook full of lists of things, some sucking sweet (apparently the gas and air makes you really thirsty and sparkles are the best thing for it). Um, 8 hour cream (which I cant live without), my Ipod and a whole load of other bits and bobs. You would never think we live 2 mins from the hospital, the way I’m obsessing over these stupid bags!

I’ve been in a lot of pain the last few days, she hasn’t dropped yet but my pelvis and hips are really hurting and click when I roll over in bed which sucks. I’m also getting really bad leg cramps at night, which really keep me awake or wake me up. So I’m really looking forward to her coming out so I can go back to feeling normal. I hope she comes at 38 weeks, I really think she will, I think she’ll come on the 27th (trying to think it into reality) Shaun says between the 1st and the 5th. So well see!

xox