What I’m loving lately – January

Even during Lockdown 3.0 I’m trying to keep positive and find things to make me smile, though it can definitely be quite trying at times.

Being pregnant is all well and good and there’s definitely a constant low level of excitement and anticipation, but it’s quite a long time away before I actually give birth (July-ish) and I’m actually more often feeling impending doom and waves of fear. Fear of being a parent, fear of Big Life Change, fear of lack of sleep, to name a few. All the things basically.

But anyway I DO have things that I’ve been enjoying lately so thought I’d share.

First thing’s first, having Kyle come downstairs to inform me proudly he’s learnt how to swaddle a baby is pretty damn cute.

Especially considering the “baby” in question was none other than our baby Yoda cuddly toy.

It’s fair to say that both Kyle and I are entirely clueless with anything baby related so even these titbits of knowledge are gold dust for us. I feel very overwhelmed when I try and think about all the things I don’t know (let’s not even consider the “unknown unknowns”!). I know I need to be reading books, blogs and building a solid base of knowledge but at the moment I just feel it’s too much.

I also know that there are certain strong opinions on different subjects and if I read one book am I residing myself to that opinion? Or do I read everything?? Like best ways to feed your baby, getting them to sleep, routines… argh so much! So I bit of light relief from Kyle was lovely.

And speaking of baby stuff… I was recently sent an amazing piece of art from the lovely Mary (her blog http://www.ahealthiermoo.com/).

She’s started a business creating gorgeous pieces of running art (check it out here https://www.instagram.com/runnerprints/) which she was kind enough to send me one. I love it! Definitely be going up in the nursery (currently Kyle’s study). Thank you, Mary! Perfect gift idea for a runner 🙂

Something else I’ve recently been sent was a collection of bars from Human Food.

They’re basically an organic plant-based snack bar that contains no nasties, refined sugar, artificial ingredients and (which I love) their packaging is very environmentally friendly. They don’t use plastics and it’s all recyclable and biodegradable. Not only this but throughout their organisation, they pride themselves on fair treatment and fair wage of staff. Good stuff indeed!

So what were they like? I’m not a big fan of cereal or protein bars, but these were dense chewy, relatively sweet bars that I quite enjoyed.

They advise you can just eat them as a bar (very nice, I enjoyed it with a cuppa in the afternoon), or you can even break it up and add it to smoothies or even your porridge. Love this!

The ingredients are super healthy as well so you know you’re getting a powerhouse health snack (and as pregnant woman, this was so handy when I was suffering from nausea and really need to ramp up my nutrition in easy ways when I found so many other fruits and veg unpalatable). Each bar contains things like maca, ginseng, cacao and hemp seeds, along with other goodies like turmeric, spirulina, nuts and a whole host of vitamins and minerals. So a solid, quality snack that leaves a good taste in your mouth in more ways than one.

On a slight less healthy note… we’ve also been enjoying doughnuts from the a local Southsea small business (find on Instagram @southseadonutco). For £9 they delivered three homemade vegan doughnuts to us.

They were incredible. Unfortunately due to a confusion during ordering (probably my fault to be fair) we got the wrong order. But they were more than happy to deliver us our correct order the next day to make up for it – which is incredible!

So in the end we had four salted caramel doughnuts, a Biscoff one and a cinnamon sugar one. They were SO good. I especially loved the cinnamon and Biscoff ones. If you’re local, I heartily recommend these guys. We will definitely be ordering again. Soft, melt in the mouth and vegan!

We’ve also been seriously enjoying the influx of Easter chocolate that is now in the shops. Especially the Mini Eggs Bar that has just been released. This is such a moreish and delicious chocolate bar. We have literally been buying all our local shop’s stock. One of my favourite snacks in the evening is a few rows (*cough* few being subjective) of the chocolate with a decaf black coffee. It hits the spot I tell you.

We also managed to find the Easter Egg version of it so we have that ready to go for Easter (if we can avoid the temptation of scoffing it before that is). So it’s a thick egg with Mini Eggs in it with a bag of Mini Eggs (my favourite, so so dangerous though). This Easter we’re definitely not holding back – we need good stuff like this to keep us going with all things considered.

What has been so difficult (and I know pretty much everyone feels ecavtly the same right now) is not seeing our family that often. It’s so hard. Especially being pregnant, I want to be doing all the things with them like going shopping for baby items and just not having limits to seeing them. But it is what it is and we just have to live with that right now.

But I was lucky enough to see my mum for a walk down Southsea on Sunday – no hugging, no touching, but just walking and chatting. It was lovely but also so sad. My mum works in a hospital and she knows first-hand how bad it is right now and how we just have to keep going with being safe and sensible. But it doesn’t make it easier.

We got a takeaway coffee and she enjoyed one of the salted caramel doughnuts I brought for her, which she very much enjoyed.

Next weekend I hope to do the same, but with my dad. Tag teaming the family basically! It’s all we can do right now, and it’ll just have to be enough.

How are you coping in Lockdown 3.0?

Are there any new snacks you’ve been enjoying?

** Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Human Food for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones**

Just keep swimming… or running

I realise my blog has suddenly become quite pregnancy focused. Somewhat understandable as that’s what’s currently going on right now for me, and let’s be honest there’s not much else happening anyway!

I’m now a couple of days away from 15 weeks and feeling miles better than I was during the first trimester.

Some days I get a little bit of random nausea early in the morning but mostly I’m out of the woods. Just general tiredness really. And other than the increasing size of my boobs, I pretty much look the same as before. I don’t currently have a noticeable bump. If I eat a lot in the evening (like when we get a takeaway at the weekend) it definitely pops out more, but I’m guessing this is mostly bloating and the food I’ve just eaten. By morning I’m back to “normal”.

Other than my pregnancy, Kyle and I are just pootling along through Lockdown 3.0… WFH during the week, Facetiming family and friends and then getting a takeaway or two at the weekend to keep us from going mad.

Last weekend was nice as my friend Mark was able to join me for a 10k run on Saturday morning. It was just so nice to run with someone else! I did used to run with Kyle at least once a week but he’s struggling a little with motivation (no races, no parkrun) and doesn’t particularly want to get up early in the week like I do. For me, if I don’t run in the morning I’d really struggle to go later as my motivation just dips completely.

So anyway Mark and I were able to run together and it just reminded me how easy running feels when you’re chatting away with someone. Hopefully we’ll do it again soon. He’s coming back from injury so my pregnancy pace was luckily not too slow for him! (He’s quite zippy normally).

I’m trying not to think too much about the coming months if I’m honest. Kyle and I deliberately didn’t take any holiday other than the Bank Holidays over Christmas so we could carry more holiday over to this year. The plan being that we could go on a little “baby moon” (hate that phrase) before the baby arrives.

We have to take this holiday though before the end of March and I’m panicking we won’t be able to go anywhere because we’ll still be locked down. Obviously I don’t expect us to go anywhere abroad, but I’d love to go somewhere other than Portsmouth right now! A little AirBnb, some walks, some time together just the two of us.

I’d dread that we’d have to take the holiday and be sat inside our house. I would go mad. And I don’t really want to take any holiday after March for the 2021 allocation because this is going to help boost my maternity leave pay. Argh. But it’ll be what it’ll be.

So we just work weekend to weekend and try to find little things to keep us going. Like ordering doughnuts from the local bakery. Or trying new takeaways near us.

Delicious cake from The Parade Tearooms

Or going for walks down to Southsea and getting takeaway coffees and cake.

Anything to just keep it from feeling too much like Groundhog Day.

How are you doing?

Are you planning any holidays this year?

First trimester – running and how I’ve felt

In general I think I can say I had a good first trimester.

The worst part was, by far, the nausea. At the beginning, from about five weeks to eight weeks, I felt incredibly sick. The nausea would start as soon as I woke up (or even waking me up from 4am) and then continue throughout the day until the late afternoon. I found it very hard and I’ll admit I ended up in tears a number of times, saying to Kyle I wished I could be put in a coma until the second trimester.

I wasn’t actually sick but I wonder if I had have been that would have been better. I wanted to be sick and was close a few times but it never happened. There were foods I had to immediately cut out. Foods I had been eating for YEARS suddenly became trigger foods to intense nausea.

Now eating became purely functional, which was really sad for me. I’m the kind of person who enjoys my food, looks forward to every meal and enjoys eating big meals. But suddenly that disappeared. All my usual food loves vanished. The thought of porridge made me feel so sick. At first I tried to continue to eat it and I’d just feel a bit queasy afterwards. But then quickly I couldn’t even be near it. I had to switch to a very bland scrambled egg in a warmed pitta bread.

Food was no longer about tasting good or bringing enjoyment, but about filling me up just enough. Not too much because if I ate just slightly too much (not even too much for me as I can eat A LOT, but too much like slightly past the point of just hitting satiety) I would feel rubbish for hours afterwards. Because feeling rubbish was so bad and mentally draining I just avoided anything that wasn’t plain, carby and easy to digest. It wasn’t worth trying to see if I could risk it.

The 1st thing I’d eat in a morning

I stopped eating my salads at lunch time (salads I’d been eating since I started working over 10 years ago). Vegetables quickly disappeared from my diet unless they were hidden away. Gone were the days I’d pile up the plate with broccoli and cauliflower. Nope. I remember watching Kyle eating a Dominoes – which is something I’d never eat as I’m not a takeaway pizza fan – and have such a strong desire for it. Dominoes suddenly became a staple Friday night meal.

I quickly learnt how to navigate through the day – keeping my foods simple and eating small portions spaced out. I started to get some weird cravings as well. I watched a scene on the Crown where the queen ate a Greek salad and I suddenly couldn’t think of anything else but large chunks of cucumber, olives, feta and tomatoes.

And things like cheesy chips, Wotsits, Doritos and tangy Haribo’s occupied my thoughts regularly. I couldn’t get enough. But things like ice cream, cups of tea or coffee, my usual favourite crisps and evening hot chocolate quickly disappeared.

Other symptoms were spots (delightful) and incredible feelings of tiredness. I started ot regularly have a 20-30min afternoon nap as my energy just dipped so much. Other than that, I can’t say I suffered from much else thankfully!

In terms of my running, it was incredible how quickly pregnancy affected it. Like the night before I found out I was pregnant my run was terrible. I was running going “why does this feel so hard and yet I’m not even pushing the pace?”. It was another reason I thought I was coming down with something or that my iron levels were low. I literally went from running 8min/miles nice and easy to finding 8.30s to be like sprinting. But I was just happy to still be able to run. And as soon as I realised the reason for my runs feeling hard was because I was pregnant, it became a lot easier mentally.

I also found running an escape from the nausea. It was nice to be outside with the fresh air. Amazingly I’ve managed to keep my mileage around 30 miles per week but take each run as it comes. I literally don’t care about pace anymore. I just want to be able to continue running for as long as I can. If that means going a lot slower – that’s fine! But of course I’ll listen to my body and if anything feels off or wrong, I’ll stop. And I have no ego about maintaining my mileage or speed. I’m fully prepared for everything to decrease (or potentially stop) the further along I go through this pregnancy. But so far so good!

I still love my long weekend run, but it’s not at a max of 13 miles. And sometimes I feel absolutely great afterwards and sometimes I feel utterly drained. But on the whole, I believe running is good for me and I’ve had no ill effects from it (other than the tiredness occasionally). But as my boobs become bigger I have had to buy some new bigger sports bra as the friction and tightness can cause a lot of issues!

I’m now comfortably in the second trimester at almost 14 weeks (we are week ahead of what we thought after having our NHs scan!) and I feel pretty good in general. Running is a bit easier as I have more energy. Nausea rarely crops up unless I eat something a bit off (apples are very hit and miss sadly). As I said, I’ll continue working out and running while it feels comfortable and I have no issues. I’ll take each day as it comes, with no goals or targets (i.e. pressure) in mind.

Do you have any goals for 2021?

Did you run through your pregnancy?

If you were pregnant, how did you find the first trimester?

Our trying to conceive journey

I actually feel a bit of a fraud saying our trying to conceive “journey” because it happened so quickly. I can’t stress enough that we know how lucky we are.

After we’d decided to crack on with getting pregnant, we decided to tell friends and family we’d begin trying next year so there was no pressure. And because I wanted to ask questions without arousing suspicion. Most of my friends have had babies (most more than one) so suddenly they were a fountain of information I’d never really paid attention to before. I guess selfishly I’d never asked detailed questions about how their “trying to conceive” journey (called TTC – got the lingo down). So between my friends, family and the Internet I had A LOT of information about the best ways in improving your chance to conceive.

I mean, I pretty much went from 0 to 100% in a short number of weeks. We were taking all the right supplements. I was using the app I’d previously used to track my period as my guide to ovulation. I had my copper coil removed (I can’t recommend this form of contraception enough by the way – no hormones, no remembering anything and no issues). And I even purchased 30 One Step ovulation tests (FYI very cheap on Amazon – they also come with cheap pregnancy tests too). We were good to go.

So I would say around September/October we officially began trying. Handily just after the Goodwood Marathon. I could take my foot off the pedal a bit in running. I would still run, but I now didn’t have any races or goals (*cough* until my friend Emma tempted me to run a marathon with her at the end of October!).

So when my period was expected and it didn’t come I got very excited very quickly. But a false pregnancy test quickly scuppered our hopes. Now my periods in general have been somewhat irregular in that I tend to have longer than usual cycles and when I have a stressful month or push my body too hard it can delay things. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I lost my period for a time (I wrote about it HERE and HERE) and since then my body is quite sensitive. The past few years though everything has been more or less fine. I’m healthy, things were regular (long cycles and sometimes irregular depending on things happening but mostly fine).

So now I was worried. Had I broken myself again? Had running Goodwood and then the marathon in all that rain and cold stressed me out too much? Work had been very stressful too and the pandemic didn’t help. I was getting ill more often than I had before as well. I was angry at myself. Had I taken my eye off the ball and not looked after myself? My weight hadn’t changed but I did feel stressed. And everyone said stress is the WORST for trying to conceive.

Another week went by and I took another test… nope. Kyle was lovely and supportive and kept trying to chill me out. I ran the marathon with Emma and enjoyed having something else to think about. We decided the Friday after that we’d go out to a pub, get a bit tipsy, eat a giant burger and get an Uber home and just forget about it all for a weekend. Perfect! Then Lockdown 2.0 happened and so our pub visit instead became a plan of G&T’s and Budweiser’s at home.

In myself though I didn’t feel right. I felt like I was about to start my period. I kept saying to Kyle, it LITERALLY feels like it’s going to happen any day. I had lots of my usual symptoms (spots, boobs a bit bigger and uncomfortable, general moodiness). My running had taken a nose dive. Every run felt hard and I was tired. I swapped my morning workouts to lunchtime so I could sleep more. I just felt pretty rubbish. I started taken iron supplements as I was convinced it was that. I said to Kyle how I wish I could just feel normal again.

Friday morning I woke up ridiculously early and laid there. My heart was thumping. Usually my resting HR is around 49-53. Lying in bed doing nothing it was almost 70! I checked back in my Garmin app and could see my resting HR had been slowly creeping up that week. Weird. Anyway I went to the loo and decided the most responsible thing to do was to take a pregnancy test because while I was 99% it would be negative I didn’t want to drink that evening without being certain.

I took the test, put it on the side and carried on washing my hands and all that jazz. Before heading back to bed I glanced at the test, not thinking I’d see anything, and was shocked to see a little second line had appeared. WHAT.

I stared at it in complete and utter disbelief. I started Googling the brand of test and false positives. Nope. False positives don’t happen.

I went back into the bedroom and gently woke Kyle up. It was 6.30am (well over an hour before we had to wake up) so he was a bit confused and groggy. I asked him to take a look at something and tell me what he saw. Well, that quickly woke him up! The rest of that day was a blur of happiness, excitement, fear, disbelief and three more pregnancy tests – all of which came up positive.

We were just absolutely gobsmacked. How did this happen?! I mean obviously I know how but it just seemed crazy. What I think happened is that the stress I was feeling pushed back my ovulation and we just happened to catch it without realising (I only took one ovulation test the night before the pregnancy test just out of interest – the irony). It suddenly made so much sense why I felt so rubbish. When we took the test I was 4 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Side note: technically I ran a marathon when I was over 3 week’s pregnant – I know this is a cheat as it’s such early days but I will take it haha!

We decided to wait until the next day to tell our parents… we also wanted to take one more test first thing just to be certain. The next day happened and another positive pregnancy result. I went from thinking I was broken to suddenly being miraculously pregnant! I went from thinking I was going to cut out running and anything stressful to being PREGNANT.

The next day we went to my parents to surprise them with the news and then to Kyle’s mum’s straight after – neither families having any idea.

Needless to say both sets were over the moon (I mean my mum literally screamed and jumped about the room!).

And we Facetimed Kyles dad too.

We decided to tell all our family straight away because I knew that if something sad were to happen I wouldn’t mind them knowing and would want their support regardless. So Kyle’s and my parents, our siblings, my grandparents… they all knew and were super excited for us. We were terrified but surrounded by so much love that I know everything will be OK whatever happens.

So thats that! Its been so hard not telling close friends but we eventually cracked at about eight weeks. I’m now 12 weeks and just glad to be heading out of the dreaded first trimester (more about that and how my running has been in a later post).

We’ve been keeping a secret…

Well, this is not a post I thought I’d be writing this year but here we go.

I’m pregnant! Wow even typing it feels weird. I’m actually writing this long before I posted because I wanted to accurately reflect on and document my experiences. I didn’t want to actually post it early days because of all the reasons, of course.

So where do I begin?

Firstly, this was planned. Weirdly not hugely far in advance though. Kyle and I moved in together in June (during the first lockdown) and enjoyed setting up our home, buying furniture and getting used to the eb and flow of life with each other and our new surroundings. Luckily being locked down together and both working from home – literally being around each other 24/7 – wasn’t hard (whew).

We began chatting about the future more and more. I’ve never been a maternal person and many times I’ve considered not having children. It’s not been a “goal” of mine or something that has greatly excited me. But being with Kyle… something changed. I didn’t have a maternal switch suddenly go on, but I felt more safe and comfortable with the idea of having a family with Kyle.

So we started talking more about it, like when we were thinking about having a family, fun baby names and how we’d tell our parents when we did get pregnant. Initially we’d agreed later next year to start trying but we were just talking about it so much and getting excited that Kyle turned to me and said “do you want a baby sooner?”.

Turns out we both did! I’m 32 (Kyle is 26) so there is somewhat of a ticking clock for me and while having a baby still seems terrifying and I have fears of my freedom and lifestyle being dramatically, well, locked down… The thought of having a baby with Kyle didn’t feel that scary or like our life as we knew it would be over. I’ve never felt maternal and I never envied my friends having children all around me. But Kyle made me feel very safe, happy and like it would be something amazing. Something we would do TOGETHER as a team.

Having a baby in my eyes has always seemed like it would change everything about my life in a bad way and my identity would change to be being “just a mother” without anything else interesting about me. While I do realise having a baby will change our whole world, I became to realise that I could still be myself as well. We could still enjoy our lives as we were (yes with sacrifices and compromises) and that a baby would add to us rather than take away from us. This shift in thinking was largely due to Kyle’s reassurances and seeing how close friends had babies that slotted into their lives rather than becoming the centre of their universe.

It’s funny because I’ve never had a rose-tinted view of having a baby. It’s mostly been all the negatives and focusing on all the hard bits. The sleepless nights, no time to yourself, the finances involved, living a less selfish life, my body changing completely outside of my control. But I never considered all the good stuff. This baby would part of us, we would be making so many amazing memories, and we would have a lot of help from family and friends. We wouldn’t be alone. Yes it’ll be hard, but hard for good reasons. Good reasons I had never considered before.

Holidays and races… two big things I love in my life which I knew would take a backseat if we did decided to have a baby. But if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that I don’t need these things to make me happy. And actually I’d achieved what I wanted to achieve for the moment in terms of running. Yes of course I want to run more marathons, especially all over the world, but having a baby doesn’t mean this will end forever. I realise it won’t be happening for a while (COVID aside) but I can still run marathons later in my life if I want to. It’s a shame that COVID has meant we couldn’t do what we wanted this year in terms of marathons and holidays and we probably can’t squeeze many holidays abroad (if at all) before the arrival of the baby in July but it just means our focus will be elsewhere for the time being. And we can still have little holidays and day trips for the time being, which I adore doing.

So we decided to start trying. Amazingly (and I know we are so, so lucky with this) it happened very quickly. More quickly than we expected and to be honest it was quite the shock. Shit got real very quickly, pardon my French. I’m going to do another post about this because it’s quite a funny story and I want to share it.

But basically I am now 11 weeks pregnant and while I can’t see any bump yet (though my boobs are gigantic it’s incredible!), I wake up every day knowing my body is doing incredible things and a constant reminder that the future is looking very different indeed…

So that’s it! I’m preggers. Up the duff. Bun in the oven. Mit baby.

I’ll be doing some more posts about how I’ve been finding the first trimester and my experiences with running, if anyone cares 🙂