Travelling with a 1 year old

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So our plans to holiday in the UK once we had a baby were pretty short-lived. By six months old she had travelled to Spain, eight months – Antigua, and her first birthday was celebrated in California.

In the run up to the latest trip we would be asked if we were going any where with our leave. We would explain, nervously yet excitedly, that we were off to California. Often we were greeted with a look that suggested we might be a little crazy, others a look a look of sympathy. Why on earth would you travel that far with a baby? We were excited by the trip – excited to catch up with family and friends, spend her first birthday at the Monterey aquarium, and enjoy time on the beach with her. Closer to the trip I did start to wonder why on earth we would go on such a long flight with a little one that wanted to crawl and cruise everywhere. How would she cope being confined? Would she sleep on the flight? How would she manage an eight-hour time difference? In my head I started to believe that if this trip went badly we would never travel far from the UK again. Antigua had been a lovely holiday but the five-hour time difference had been tough on Amelia. It led to us going to bed early and accepting that we would be up for the crack of dawn (or just before to be accurate). The next sentence was then a rationalisation that by the time we would next travel abroad she would be older and different again, so it was likely that we would do it again! Each time we have travelled with her it has been a very different experience.

It’s not possible to give advice that I am sure will work for everyone and their little one, since they are all different. But I can share some ideas that have worked well, and not worked well for us when travelling with Amelia.

  • Preparing and packing – Be prepared! Pack early. I am really good at planning to pack early and then being very last minute. It’s not the idea scenario. We have been lucky enough not to forget any items. The list I end up making of things to remember is extensive! I would say that when planning the most important factor to consider is where are you going. By the time we went to Antigua the weaning process was fully underway. Since we were going to an island I made sure that I had enough food to last for the trip. The same went for nappies and wipes, etc. However, when going to the USA I packed enough to last the first couple of days because I was sure we would easily find a supermarket that sold everything we would need at reasonable prices. The lighter you can travel the better.
  • Hand luggage – Try to keep this as minimal as possible. You have to be able to carry it all, and the baby, through airports when they don’t return your buggy at the gate and you must collect it from the baggage reclaim. However, make sure you have enough supplies for the flight. A well-stocked nappy bag is required, complete with a change of clothes (or two) for any mishaps. On a flight home Amelia somehow managed to unscrew the lid off a water bottle and completely soak herself. Having forgotten the all-important change of clothes she ended up disembarking in a cardigan, in London, in December! Make sure there are some toys to play with and keep their interest. However, be sure to avoid anything noisy that’s going to drive fellow passengers mad (I speak from a pre-baby perspective there). Have enough food and drink for the flight. Snacks work well to keep them busy. A really good tip I read was to order what you need from Boots in advance and collect from the post-security branch. This removes the need to worry about unpacking it all, tasting it (if required) and then repacking it all to pass through security. I didn’t pre-order for the latest trip and the amount of trays and clear plastic bags needed drove me a little mad. Especially since after stuffing them into the bags because I was told to by the man handing them out, I then had to unpack them all because the lady at the x-ray scanner said that’s what I needed to do. Trust me – pre-order and collect. It saves a lot of hassle! If you are going to take it through security make sure all the items you need to separate out are in one place so that its really quick and easy.
  • Think about bedtime – Up until the most recent trip we took the Sleepyhead with us when we travelled. It provided an instant sleeping place for Amelia so that she could nap anywhere, and in travel cots it provided some security and familiarity. We also take her other bedtime paraphernalia – usual blanket, comforter, and Ewan the Dreamsheep. I don’t wash them in preparation for travel so that they smell familiar. We also take her sleeping bag and comforter on the plane with us. This way she has something familiar when napping, and if the flight is an overnight one then we can recreate bedtime as best as possible. I also took a big cushioned blanket to use as added padding and not all travel cots come with a good mattress. Where possible try and keep your bedtime routines as close to normal as possible when away. This seems to help Amelia get used to being away from home. We also realised after the Antigua trip that Amelia is definitely disturbed by us sleeping in the same room as her, and vice versa. So when we went to the USA we used AirBnB more than hotels. This meant we could select accommodation where we could put Amelia to bed in a separate space/room to us. If you are going somewhere where this is not possible, and have a child that’s not standing yet then the Snoozeshade for travel cots can be helpful. It sits over the cot and provides a ‘cover’, which also blocks out light to make the room darker, and can works as a bug net.
  • Car seats – When travelling to Spain we took Amelia’s car seat. It was a group 0 seat, and we had the attachments for our pushchair so it doubled up as the seat top for the pushchair. In Antigua we chose not to take one at all since we were visiting a resort. By the time we went to the USA she had progressed to the next stage seat. As such we didn’t feel it was quite so practical to take ours since it would become another piece of (bulky) luggage. Plus, I wasn’t keen on it being damaged since it’s a necessity and they are pretty expensive! So we hired a car seat. It’s useful to note that we were told that, in the USA at least, you couldn’t leave the hire car parking lot unless you have your child restrained in an appropriate seat. We hired ours from the car hire company. In practical terms it was the better idea but Amelia did not get on with it at all. It wasn’t as comfortable as our little princess was used to, and as such she struggled to drop off to sleep as easily as she would in the car at home. There was a lot of screaming! Also, don’t forget your mirror if you use one with your rearward facing car seat. Its good to be able to see what they are up to in the back of the car. We did forget ours and ended up buying a new one whilst we were away.
  • Stay flexible – Don’t have a rigid schedule. If you go with a tight schedule or plans to do everything there’s a chance you might get stressed or be disappointed. We’ve had ideas about what we would like to do on our trips, and perhaps one or two ‘must-do’s’ but we’ve tried to keep it less planned than perhaps we might have previously. We also made sure that we didn’t stay places for less than two nights at a time and tried to space our stops out evenly. Thinking about driving distances if you are doing a road trip, and bearing in mind that it may not take the time that the satnav says it will. Expect unscheduled stops, and embrace them! Our USA trip led to an unscheduled wine tasting because we stumbled upon a vineyard when we took the next exit off the highway because Amelia was screaming! We are now the owners of two lovely bottle of wine ready to be enjoyed. Consider travelling with friends so you can share parenting duties, or have someone to go off and do a trip with (we missed the snorkelling opportunities in Antigua).

Overall I would say don’t be afraid to travel with a little one. We really enjoyed travelling before Amelia came along, and it’s so nice to take her along with us now. It’s different, yes, but it brings about new experiences. Who knew you could enjoy a ride on the Dumbo ride or Snow white ride at Disneyland as a fully-grown adult! Don’t worry about what fellow travellers and passengers are thinking. We’ve had some grumpy looks as we board the plane, from people who think Amelia is going to scream the whole way. They’re the ones feeling bad when she’s peering over the seat and greeting them with a wide smile, and being really well behaved on the flight.

Enjoy your travels, and let me know if you have any other tips for travelling with little ones!

 

Not another bag!

 

thumb_IMG_8858_1024I have always had a close relationship with bags. From the necessity of having a new backpack for school each year and the best bag possible for my PE kit, to even the finer details like which pencil case I would next need. It was bordering on an addiction. I haven’t told many people this story, so you’re in on a shameful secret I hold. Only a few months after starting work and meeting some of my now best buddies I saw that Gap were collaborating with Mulberry to create a limited edition bag. It was great value at something like £60 compared to the few hundred pounds you’d otherwise spend on a Mulberry Bayswater handbag. This was my chance to own a Bayswater, albeit in red. But I could rock a red handbag right? It was around Christmas time, on a Saturday when Oxford Street was closing the road to traffic for a Christmas shopping event. I managed to convince some of the girls to come with me, knowing that the only way I’d get on of the Bayswater bags was to queue. I have never before, and never since, queued for fashion.  We took the train into London, hopped on the tube and joined the queue that curved around two corners. The time finally came for our chance to get in there. Everyone knew it was about hunting down the bag. It was right there in front of my eyes…but it was red corduroy. I grabbed it and instantly realised it was nowhere near what I had imagined. Yeah it had the features of a Bayswater, but it really wasn’t what I was looking for. It also wasn’t really worth that much money. I carried it around for a while wondering how I would break it to the girls that I didn’t really want it. I considered buying it anyway out of guilt for forcing them to get up so early on a Saturday morning and standing in a queue in cold weather. Eventually I admitted it, and to my relief they were glad. They too thought it wasn’t worth it and had been considering saying something to me. It’s taken some time, and willpower, but I no longer have such obsessions with bags. I have a trusted small selection, and cannot recall the last time I purchased one.

So when the time came that I would have to consider trading my usual bag for a nappy bag, I was certain I needed to make the right purchase. I needed one that was practical yet stylish. Good value yet reliable.  I spent a lot of time on Google searching ‘best nappy bags’, ‘most practical changing bags’, etc. I looked at things like the Mother and Baby awards shortlist, read other blogs, Mumsnet, etc.

I shortened it down to two brands – Pacapod and Storksak. I had seen a lot of women with the Yummy Mummy bags, and whilst I thought they looked cute I wasn’t sure how the Husband would feel about carrying it on his shoulder. This also ruled out a lot of patterned styles. These two brands had plenty of neutral styles and colours. After some further research I had pretty much settled on a leather Storksak bag. I had some vouchers, and thought they would contribute nicely. I made the mistake of taking someone rational with me when I went to buy it though. In my head I had thought that it was a leather bag, nice enough to carry on using after it no longer was required as a changing bag. That, though fairly steep in price, it was going to last a while, and therefore good value. Though we were in agreement that it was a nice bag, it was highlighted that it was quite expensive and perhaps I already own other bags I may revert to using once I no longer need to carry a changing bag around. True, I thought. So I found a happy medium with the Storksak Bobby.

Am I pleased with the bag? Yes is the definitive answer. I love it. It is a great size, with a removable bottle holder bag and a nice little changing mat. It has plenty of compartments and is not too bulky. It is big enough that I packed it as her hospital bag when preparing for her birth. Whilst breastfeeding I used the bottle pouch as a compartment for storing all the necessary bits for nappy change time.

What do I keep in the bag?

In the end pockets I always have some tissues on one side, and her Sippy cup in the other one. I have several nappies, which I always top up at the end of the day, along with some Metanium everyday cream and a pack of wipes. I also keep a few little nappy disposal bags in case we can’t dispose of the nappy immediately or, in the cases of poolosions occurring, we can put any soiled clothes in one. With this in mind I always keep a spare change of clothes –vest, leggings and t-shirt. These are often one size too small if we have been lucky not to have such an incident since she has grown into the next size. There’s a little pacifier case, which I store a hairclip in so we can get her hair out of her face if need be. I the bottle pouch I keep a selection of food pouches, a fabric Gro Company travel highchair, a bib and a spoon. There’s always a toy or two, a muslin cloth and a comforter. Just lately we’ve been adding a little coat into the mix too! What’s in there for me? I have learnt to travel light with just a purse, phone and a pen! My bag when I go out without her now looks very empty compared to all the paraphernalia I used to require.

Would I change anything about the bag? Sometimes I do find I can’t always zip it up unless I have packed it just right. That’s usually down to the bottle pouch being probably just a little bigger than it needs to be. I don’t regret not getting a leather one. If I had a leather one it would be filthy and water stained. We have been caught in showers, I have taken this bag to the beach, she had vomited on it, etc. It still looks just fine. A leather one would probably look pretty tatty by now!

 

Which changing bag do you own? Would you recommend it?

Travels and tribulations!

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After initially agreeing to only holiday in the UK with our new baby, we made it three months before we were discussing how we would use the rest of my husband’s annual leave for the year. We had already set aside when the leave would be taken. We needed some time for travelling to a wedding in Spain, and the rest was evenly spaced out around this. We had planned for two weeks in November and we were discussing what we might do with this time. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves booking a long haul flight to the Caribbean having never travelled more than an hour or so with her. Our motto had changed from “Lets travel as much as we can before we have children” to “Lets travel as much as we can before she’s two and we have to start paying for a seat for her”.

As the time came closer and the weather started to cool, and the days shorten we began the countdown to our fabulous holiday. We’d flown to Spain with her in September and this had been a predominantly good experience. She still isn’t crawling so we weren’t too worried about her getting too stir crazy on the flight. November came around and on the Friday before the flight we planned to travel down to the airport so there was no rush and stress the next morning.

The packing was slow and painful. Having left it to the last minute and then developing a cold meant I could only pack in short bursts. Not to mention Amelia having only short naps those couple of days further hampering my efforts to pack. It was finally completed in the hour before we left home. Again we were laden down with baggage. The husband asked which was his hand luggage bag. As I explained the contents of each I realised they were all for Amelia!

The night prior to the flight was pretty terrible. Amelia woke a couple of times screaming until she finally settled after some Paracetamol. We woke to her having very sticky red eyes. She was again screaming and unsettled. More Paracetamol was administered. As we walked through the airport I felt faint and awful. At this point in time panic was setting in and I was wondering what had we done. Was this the biggest mistake we’d ever made.

I had ordered baby food, milk, swimming nappies and a couple of other bits from Boots. This was after some research that suggested it was useful to order online and collect from the Boots after airport security. In the end this was really useful. Just make sure you take a spare bag to put it all into. The other recommendation would be to ensure this is done with plenty of time to go. They require at least 5 days from order to delivery as it also involves the products having to be security checked. Do not pick the same date for pick-up as your flight. Choose a date at least 1-2 days in advance. Once you complete the order it tells you that collection time is from 12noon on that date thus not helpful if you have a morning flight. I spent a long time picking what to buy to see this note after putting our departure date as the day for collection. I then spent some time on the phone discussing this for it to be clarified that you need 5 days for turnaround from order to collection, no I can’t change my pick-up location to my local store, and no I couldn’t cancel the order. The only alternative should it not be there to collect would be for it to not be picked up within their two week time frame and then I would be refunded. As luck would have it I had a message on the Wednesday to confirm it was ready for collection.

The flight was great. Amelia was just fine. No major meltdown just a couple of few minute long whinges when it was naptime. She napped three times – two in the bassinet and once on Daddy. She ate lunch, smiled and waved at other passengers, and watched Mickey Mouse cartoons on the screen. On the return overnight flight it was a little tougher. There was a little turbulence, and we found that each time she shuffled about she would half wake and whinge a bit. I was worried about irritating the sleeping passengers around us and used my breast as a dummy several times. In the end she had the most sleep of the three of us and slept well the night of our return.

The holiday itself was lovely. The resort was beautiful and the weather amazing. Amelia went in the pool a couple of times each day. We had booked an all-inclusive trip so that we didn’t need to worry about anything. On the whole Amelia was a really good girl who spent the trip practicing her waving, learning to clap and ‘Hi-five’.

What were the downsides of travelling with an 8-month old? The time difference – I had read that babies are pretty good at making the transition. Amelia changed her body clock by two hours – ready for bed at 5-5.30 and ready to get up at 5-5.30. She woke during the night and I think this was partly a fine balance between her being too warm or too cold. I wasn’t sure if the air conditioning was making her mouth dry too. Naptimes were much less regular or predictable. At home she would normally nap in her cot but here she was not so keen. It was also much harder to get her to sleep in her buggy. Lots of walking and rocking required. Tired Amelia was not my favourite Amelia, and it left me feeling grateful for just how good a girl she really is! She had made a decision that she would not sleep throughout a meal. We had to hurry meals at times. It would have been great if the hotel had offered room service. I think we would have taken this up a couple of times just to let her have a really good sleep. Finally, something that I just wouldn’t have thought about in advance was where I could safely put her down. The room had a tiled floor and around the pool a concrete/stone floor. So to allow her time to sit she needed to be on the bed or on a sunbed with supervision and an arm ready to grab her at all times! I had a picnic blanket and this was helpful on the sand to allow her a bit of time to sit and have tummy time and practice her movement. It was fine until she reached the end of the mat and started eating sand! She ended up head to toe in sand!

I think each age and stage of development provides its own challenges. I did think that had it have been a month or two ago that we went it may have been a different experience. She has become pretty settled in a routine nowadays and we disrupted that. Nevertheless we both agreed that it wouldn’t stop us from travelling with her again. It just might involve us altering what features we look for in our accommodation. It was a great experience and created some lovely memories. We got to spend some great time together as a family!

 

Do you have any tips for travelling with babies?

Holidays!

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Apologies for the silence over the last few days, but we have been on holiday. Hence my reason for picking holidays as a topic to write about is fresh in my mind.

We have always enjoyed travelling together, and particularly in the last couple of years we have endeavoured to see as much of the world as we can. So when we thought about having children we felt it was important to get them used to travelling, so we could continue to visit places and enjoy trips together as a family.

We have already been on one family holiday to Anglesey back at the end of June. This was our introduction to holidaying with a baby, and working out what we would need to take. It was easy to throw everything in the car that we thought we might need, and if we had forgotten anything it was fine because we would be in the UK. This trip went well – the weather was beautiful, friends of ours were also in Anglesey at the same time so we met up and spent time together. Amelia went on her first boat trip. She was doing really well with her sleep and we did our best to stick to her usual routine. If we were going to be eating away from our rental property we would do the routine and put her to sleep at our friends’ place or in the car seat if we were eating out. She was sleeping well – from 11pm to 6am (a period that lasted the sum total of the week we were away)!  Following this we ventured on a few weekends away to visit friends and attend weddings. So Amelia has travelled by train, planes and automobiles (sorry!). Journeying to Edinburgh on the train was a really fun experience. She chatted, slept, fed and played. No crying! The lady sharing our table on the train watched us board, and sit next to her. She looked grumpy and remarked that she was trying to get away from children that weekend. Well Amelia didn’t bother her at all (unless like her you seemed to be resistant to lots of happy smiling) and kept herself to herself. She was a credit to us and we felt proud.

So September arrived and we prepared to travel again. This time it was different and full of uncertainty. We were travelling to Spain for a wedding. The trip had been booked before Amelia arrived into the world, and so she had been added just after birth. This sounds like an easy process but took 12 hours on the phone to British Airways, until finally a lovely Welsh woman took it upon herself to help us. On the day we registered her birth we went out to get her passport photo taken, which will last for five years. Daddy and the man taking the picture tried in vain to get a five week old to look at the camera with both eyes open. She looks like Popeye with one eye open and the other squinting. I have noticed that she is found of pureed Spinach!

 

I had planned to prepare a list and pack early so there was no stress. However, after being sidetracked I made the list the day previously. In the run up to this I had been buying little bits that I thought we might need (many impulse buys whilst wandering aimlessly along the baby aisles in the supermarket). I bought her a UV sun-suit, disposable bibs, Ella’s kitchen pouches, a fresh sponge for the bath and the list goes on.

So on the day before we travelled there were piles of bits in the kitchen, the lounge, the landing and the bedroom. I would spot something else we might need and throw it on the pile. By the time I had packed, Amelia had a whole suitcase to herself. I had packed more clothes than she needed. I basically packed all her summery clothes, plus some sleepsuits just in case it got cooler (the forecast was mid to late twenties Celsius).

My list read like this:- food pouches, bowl, spoons x 2, sippy cup x 2, bottle, bottle brush, porridge, bibs (disposable and 1 wipe clean), milk (just in case), sleepyhead, Ewan the dreamsheep, blanket, comforter, swimming nappies, normal nappies x 60, barrier cream, wipes, bath wash, sunscreen, moisturizer, towels x 2, swimsuits and sun-suit, sun hat, sunglasses, outfit for wedding (x 3 dresses), clothes +++, car seat, pram, microwave steriliser, paracetamol, ibuprofen, inflatable for the swimming pool (rubber ring), toys, playmat and hairbrush.

Did she need all of this? No, several of these items remained completely unused (along with the usual load of clothes for Daddy and I). But we had a great time. She behaved perfectly on the plane journey (feeding her during take-off and landing seemed to help). We stayed with friends, in a villa with a pool. Amelia got to practice her swimming a couple of times per day. She didn’t enjoy the beach…

She has now been to the beach three times – the first time she slept through much of it, the second it was windy and she got a face full of sand, and this time we tried dipping her feet in the sea. None of these occasions seem to have won her over. Managing her nap times were the hardest part of the trip. Generally we didn’t go out before her morning naps but quite a few of the afternoon ones were interrupted by travelling or being out and about. This did impact on trying to get her to bed a few times, and there were more tears than usual.

Our biggest concern was how she would fare at the wedding which was due to start at 5pm. The last two weddings we had made it to 8pm and 10pm so we were nervous as to how long we would be able to stay. What we have found is that she will happily sleep out and about and with music in the background. However, what she doesn’t like is the use of microphones and tannoy systems. They rudely awaken her, leaving Mummy and Daddy with a tired but awake baby. We had made it through 48 hours of travel with no major incidents and arrived at the wedding. I was holding her whilst someone kindly took a photo of us, when I noticed a trickle of liquid dripping from Amelia. Dribble it was not. This trickle was coming from the side of her nappy. Plus there was poo on her vest, and somehow her sock! This led to a frantic change of vest (luckily the dress came out of it unharmed), and the use of spare outfit number one. Luckily there were no further incidents of this nature. She made it until 11pm before it was time to admit defeat and return home.

So I ask myself would we travel abroad again with her? The answer is yes. Which is lucky as we have our next trip booked already. The biggest learning point was that I didn’t need to pack as much stuff as we did. I guess as she ages the equipment we will need to travel with will change anyway. But we can be more rational in future!

 

Adios for now!

The first trimester!

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I write this post on a sunny Saturday morning of the August bank holiday, thinking back to last years August bank holiday. Last year we were living it up in Positano on the Amalfi coast. We were with great friends enjoying summer in the Mediterranean. We had travelled light, and packed at the last minute as had become the norm for us (though still packing at the last minute today we have loaded the boot with masses of paraphernalia for just one night away, two hours down the road).

Last summer, we made the decision that the time was right to expand our family of two. Having returned from an adrenaline filled trip to Costa Rica, we had three weddings lined up, three weekends in a row. It was a month worth of excess – partying, eating and perhaps a few too many drinks. It was a fun time that was followed by a month of trying to eat healthy and get into shape.  August began and along came a few symptoms – breast tenderness, needing to go to the toilet at bit more and no period.  I figured I ought to consider the possibility that pregnancy was on the cards. One test and a picture message later, my husband and I were faced with a whole new experience. As most people do, we were keen to keep it quiet until we had a scan to confirm our suspicion. We did, however, tell our close family. I would have much preferred to do this in person but we were off on holiday with two of our closest friends and there was going to be no hiding it from them (the only alternative for them would be to believe I’d had a personality transplant) We were going to be in Italy – the home of Prosecco and cured meats.

So we went on holiday and had a great time. I had the occasional twinge of nausea and couldn’t manage a large meal but otherwise felt fine. The hardest part was needing to think twice about whether I was supposed to avoid something or not. This led to a very bizarre conversation in a restaurant/nightclub where there was a seafood set menu. Trying to clarify what they would be serving, we realised it would be swordfish. Knowing that this was a definite no-no due to the mercury levels in such fish we tried to request an alternative. The quote of the night went to the waiter who proclaimed “I have three children, and my wife didn’t avoid anything and my kids are normal”. Lets face it, what is ‘normal’ is very subjective, not seeing them for myself I couldn’t take the risk! Now I wasn’t militant about the food – I’d eaten some cured meats (it was impossible to resist), but I drew the line at swordfish, where there was a clear, scientific reason to avoid it.

After returning from holiday the symptoms really set in. I could now empathise with women who had expressed early pregnancy as being a tough experience. Though not actually vomiting, I felt sick for much of the time. I struggled to do the food shopping since I didn’t feel like eating at all. The shopping trolley would be full of rubbish – cup-a-soups, ginger biscuits, spaghetti hoops and rice pudding to name but a few. My husband reached breaking point when dinner was served one evening and it was one small tin of spaghetti hoops, split between the two of us, on toast. From then on his mum provided our dinner for the next 3-4 weeks (potato curry and pea curry). Our fruit trees were ready to harvest and I spent an evening reluctantly making batches of plum and damson jam with the nausea feeling at the forefront of my mind.  My first jam-making experience was supposed to be one of pleasure and pride at the outcome. I just felt relieved that I’d got it out of the way and could go to bed. I was falling asleep on the sofa at eight o’clock in the evening. We didn’t need to feel upset that we were avoiding social interaction with friends because it was the last thing I wanted to do anyway.

The relatives that knew found my pragmatic approach to the pregnancy at this stage a little strange. My medical background left me with the thought process that until we had the first scan I really didn’t see the pregnancy as anything more than a possibility. The scan, in my eyes, could show anything to be the case, and anything could happen in the lead up to this scan. We went to the booking appointment, which was very straightforward, and awaited our scan appointment. It arrived in the post on my day off. The first thing I felt was frustration at the fact it was for a day and time when I would be working. I rang and changed it to the only alternative slot that was suitable – the Friday morning that we were going on holiday for 2 weeks. We researched the option of having the scan privately but our rational sides took over when we considered the cost of this and the hassle that the results wouldn’t go straight to our midwife. Had there been an option, we would happily have paid a supplement to have and evening appointment within the NHS. This led to the realization for the two of us that there will be times when one or both of us need to make compromises for the family, which in all honesty I don’t think either of us were used to making where life and work was concerned.

So, on the Friday morning we arrived, me with a full bladder, for our scan. It was a surreal experience to see this little baby for the first time looking so perfectly formed at only 10cm long. Unfortunately the picture doesn’t reflect just how lovely she was (not that we knew she was a girl at that stage). She was wriggling so much the picture looks like a seahorse. Our relatives were waiting with baited breath for that first glimpse of their future grandchild/niece, and even they agreed the picture was a little ‘interesting’. From this day onwards I relaxed about the pregnancy and we fondly referred to the little one as fuzzball, or fuzzy for short.

 

And so we went on holiday…..