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Part 1 here

Work Life Balance

If there’s anything I want you to take away from this blog it’s that – quality time – doing whatever you want to do.

So we were finding ourselves having less time together, or rather less quality time. Whilst there were day to day differences, we just seemed to just be in the same routine most days. Wake > work > Home > Sleep.

We took it upon ourselves to do something about it and so we forced ourselves to turn that TV off, to talk, to spend time with each other, not just near each other.

It worked and we find a new found sense of relationship and grew stronger together.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy happened

As time went on so the pregnancy progressed. Now again as a doctor, especially one that’s done Obstetrics before, I was very used to seeing pregnant women and had been involved in many pregnancies and births. Being involved so personally though was a whole new experience for me.

There’s something quite magical about watching a pregnancy develop, that famous bump start to grow, and start inching towards that finish line. It really does feel like you are inching because it’s a long slog. Trust me if you are new to pregnancy, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Actually it’s more like a marathon with hurdles the whole way, with fire breathing dragons to dodge and lava pits to jump over and around every corner awaits some other terrible doom.

At least it feels like that sometimes, especially when things just aren’t going right.

Scans

What can I say about ultrasound scans. Anyone that has been pregnant or involved in pregnancy knows how much those ultrasounds can be a source of tremendous joy but also trepidation and terror.

Our little Lily just would not play ball. She didn’t want to be seen. She wanted to wriggle away and make the sonographer’s life difficult – and of course ours too by extension. It turned out she just wouldn’t behave.

At our 18-20 week scan my wife ended up having multiple scans and they took forever because she just wouldn’t play ball. It was really quite unpleasant for all involved, but especially for my wife Imogen.

Can you shuffle down. Can you turn over. Can you shuffle back. Can you drink something. Can you wee something. No too much wee. No not enough wee. Drink a little. Now wee. Now drink. Too much. Not enough…

Us getting our 18-20 week scan

She had to get up and down and move around and shake around and do all sorts of stuff to get Lily to move but nothing worked. Eventually we had to call it a day (after the second almost 2 hour long scan) and just accept we couldn’t see everything.

Well we can’t see everything, I’m sure it’ll be fine, but we can’t call it a normal scan.

Sonographer

Words matter

If you’ve ever been a patient then you’ll know that the words medical professionals use really do make a difference to you. It’s deeply unpleasant to be told that they can’t see everything and ‘it’ll probably be alright but it’s not normal’.

Being a doctor doesn’t make this any easier to hear. We know it’s probably fine, statistically. But we also know what can go wrong. Just ask any doctor they probably know someone who had a bad pregnancy or delivery!

Queue another 4 months of not knowing if the scan was ok or not…

Shopping

shopping for baby items is a nightmare

The moment edged ever closer. The countdown timer had begun. The moment when we might see our beautiful daughter for the first time.

Panic! Despite all our initial planning and app downloading and internet searching we hadn’t actually bought anything!

By this point we’d also moved house to a…smaller one. Such is life in England. You want to move to a nicer area? You get a bigger salary or you get a smaller house.

Relatively moving house is super easy when you don’t have kids by the way. Any parent will know it’s really tough when you’ve got other people to entertain and can’t just feed them crap for weeks because your fridge and microwave haven’t arrived yet.

So we had to go get stuff sorted. Thankfully we had a few hand-me-downs and lots of clothes from friends that they didn’t need any more so we didn’t have to worry too much, but we still had to get some stuff.

Pushchairs

My god. Who knew they were so many millions of makes and models. How do you pick a good one? We ended up getting an ‘off-roader’. Sounded cool, and I’m sure my working dad readers will be able to relate. That strange feeling of needing to have something rugged and dare I say it ‘manly’, whilst also being as protective as it can be for your new bundle of joy.

I was seduced. Off road. Real tyres. Suspension. It looked robust with a chunky frame and big straps. Yet the name – Peach – wasn’t quite so manly.

We bought it with the best intentions. We thought we’d go running with it, go for long country walks over rugged terrain and generally need something versatile and sturdy. After all we were committed to our kids being raised as hardy and resourceful

were we planning on raising Hobbits?.

The reality was of course that very little of that actually happened. At least with me, my wife was better and she did go running a few times with the pram.

Car seats

Any parent will know that the only thing worse than shopping for push chairs is shopping for car seats. The makes and models are endless and easily dwarf prams and strollers.

Add to this the guilt trip and emotional blackmail the sales people and ads try to put on you that if you don’t make the right choice then your beloved child will die a horrible tragic death the moment you drive off from the hospital.

Like any new parents we tried every make and model going and eventually settled on a capsule version that worked with out pushchair. Score!

The real test of course came later when it was time to move up to a bigger seat…do we rear or forward face?

Nappies (diapers)

a stack of disposable nappies

Who knew something so innocent could cause so much drama?

My wife and I like to think we are climate -conscious. We aren’t eco warriors by any means, but we recycle, keep our waste to a minimum and avoid single use products where possible.

Naturally this brought us to nappies. Possibly the single most wasteful thing on the planet. At least it seems like it when you’ve changed the 10th nappy of the day.

We’d moved to a new town, a beautiful victorian spa town, but our house was now tiny. We’d made the sensible decision to buy a place. A little nest in which to start our now growing family. We were lucky enough to have a reusable cloth nappy shop in our new town so off we trotted.

Washable nappies

My wife and I were keen to use reusables, to reduce our waste, to avoid mountains of stinky nappies in the house. Of course our parents were overjoyed also, happy in the knowledge that we didn’t think they were ancient and uncivilized for using them back in their day before disposables existed (my mum still loves to harp on about Terry Towels). Our friends however were not so happy. None of their business really, and honestly they probably didn’t really want to know.

Like any new parents we made it our mission to educate the world on all things baby, blissfully unaware of how annoying we were. This of course included nappies and using washable nappies. Most of our friends balked at the idea but a few seemed onboard, especially when we told them the cost savings. We estimate to date we’ve probably saved around $5000 between our 2 girls so that’s pretty amazing really.

The big day arrives

Or well not quite. Of course as any parent knows, you think the big day has arrived. You start to get those contractions. You are overjoyed and terrified simultaneously. My wife by this point was pretty desperate to get this baby out but unfortunately it would still be for a few days.

Click here for part 3


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