Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This Too Shall Pass....

There are some pregnancy symptoms which, quite frankly, you could do without. I shan't list them here as my husband reads this blog, and he really doesn't need to know about some of them. (I'm a 'bathroom with the door closed' and 'no flatulence in front of the other half' kind of girl.)

Thankfully, I'm lucky that two very good friends of mine back in the UK (hello J and S!) are pregnant at the same time as me. One is due 4 weeks before, one 5 days after me. What are the chances?!

We soon became dab hands at exhanging emails and messages, usually titled 'What Fresh Hell is This?!'. This meant that when, on waking, and realising something was amiss/something had moved/something didn't feel quite right, I had two fantastic sources to check in with. And when you're half way round the world and know very few people with children, this is an absolute godsend.

And when I was in the depths of some dodgy symptom or other, tired or in pain, I clung to the fact that whatever it was, it usually passed. And a few days later it would. Hang in there ladies.....

Monday, August 19, 2013

Blazers Still Fit!

Gwen: Always an inspiration
Newsflash!!!! (Mainly of interest to pregnant women) BLAZERS STLL FIT!!! To be fair I haven't had to expand my wardrobe too much, but it's quite clear that a large proportion of items are no longer feasible. Which makes a walk round the mall a) dull and b) disheartening. Minimal interest in shops when I can't fit into anything. 

This weekend, a revelation:  blazers still fit! I love a blazer. Big fan of wearing one over dresses for work, or skinnies and a t-shirt at the weekend. So to discover that these still fit, AND with the right cut they can actually nip you in a bit and give you a good shape was a joyous moment. I snaffled one up in bright yellow - well, anything to distract from my tired face, hey! It has most definitely perked me up no end.

Mine was from Zara, but they are everywhere, ladies. Enjoy!

New Habits: Troughing

Me, at pretty much any time of day.
I never really had a sweet tooth. Sure, I'd scoff Creme Eggs at Easter and I do love anything from the lovely Mr Kipling. But I'm a cheese or crisps kinda gal at heart. Add in the fact that I do like to eat as healthily as possible, and I'm just not a big indulger in all things sweet as they tend to gravitate to my middle and thighs.

That all changed when I became Up The Duff (UTD). I fought it, I really did. But I've found myself leaning towards sugary treats like Kim Kardashian after a hunger strike. 

Things I find myself eating most on a regular basis that I SWEAR never normally touch my lips:
  • Pain au Chocolat
  • Cinammon Whirls
  • Creme Eggs (to be fair, a usual occurrence, especially round Easter)
  • Ice-cream (nightly)
The Husband watches with a wry smile as I scoff the above items - he isn't used to seeing me with my snout in the fridge quite so much, and certainly not emerging with anything unhealthy.

I reasoned with myself: on a normal evening I might have a couple of glasses of wine, on a night out, a bottle. Which meant I had HUNDREDS of spare calories to consume, non? And I kept repeating the mantra: pregnant women only need and extra 2-300 calories a day, so I did exercise some restraint. And at 24 weeks, with no one any the wiser that I was pregnant, it seemed to work...but a lot can happen in the final few months. As I hurtle towards 33 weeks, watch this space.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pregnant in 48 Degree Heat: What to Wear to Work?

It is not easy dressing in a Dubai summer at the best of times. Throw in being pregnant, add the fact that hardly any stores here stock maternity clothes (wake up Gap/Top Shop/H&M etc etc) and you have a real problem. 

I've been lucky that I could stretch my pre-maternity wardrobe until around six months, at which point something had to give. Yes, I could pull my trousers up , but this is not much use if you can't sit down in them.

My work wardrobe saviour was - they deliver to Dubai! Stylish, reasonably priced clothes for work and weekend. And I also had a lovely girlfried who visited and brought some of my purchases with her. I say some. I took up at least 50% of her baggage alloowance. Now that's a true friend.

Here are my some purchases that got me through the hot days when I needed to look professional and a bikini just wouldn't cut it:

Swing Dresses

This one is a lovely stretchy crepe with dinky gathered cuffs. Great with a blazer, huge necklace and ballet pumps. I have it in black.

Image 1 of ASOS Maternity Swing Dress In Crepe

This is also great for work - a bit more casual with cute pockets at the front. Again, in black. I do usually love wearing colour and am not a fan of black. But black seemed to work better for me in this case - I had the fear of looking like a giant walking piece of fruit in any other colour.

Image 1 of ASOS Maternity Shift Dress With Pockets And 3/4 Sleeve

Long Skirt

I'm not really a floaty kind of skirt girl, but this black number was elegant, can be worn with ballet pumps or converse depending on the day, and dressed up with a blazer if necessary. And my LORD it is comfy.

Image 1 of ASOS Maternity Exclusive Maxi Skirt with Foldover Top

Lounge Pants

These are really best worn with converse and a denim jacket, but with a good blouse and pumps, they did for work too. They were like pulling on molten silk and I suspect will be worn long after the baby is born.

Image 1 of ASOS Maternity Exclusive Lounge Pants With Fold Over

What I Ate Today. (Answer: Everything.)

Me, in a few months, I expect
Did I mention I've been hungry during this pregnancy? Well, I am. In addition to his I'm actually under doctor's orders to eat more as baby Britney is a little on the small side. 

This is quite the mental transition: from a very healthy and moderate eater to a crazed fridge raider. Such is life. 

Just to illustrate quite how much I am packing away, I give you, my daily food diary. Brace yourselves. And perhaps loosen your belts....

2 x apples
1 x yoghurt
1 x tuna salad
1 x strawberry smoothie
1 x bag of hula hoops
1 x donut
1 x bounty 
1 x ice cream
1 x corned beef hash

I ask you, IS THERE ANY NEED??!!!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Mothercare: Just Say No

Me, on exit
This week I faced my own personal Vietnam of pregnancy: I went to Mothercare.

Have you ever been in Mothercare? If so, and you have managed to emerge without weeping, clawing for air and despairing of the human race, you are a stronger woman than me. Here are the main reasons that I will be avoiding Mothercare like the plague FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

1) The Shop Assistants
Let's be clear, Dubai customer service is poor at the best of times. Expect to approach most stores (esepcially beauty or clothing) armed with far, far more knowledge than the shop assistants. How I yearn for New York, where the women on the Estee Lauder counter can analyse your skin at 20 paces, and make skincare and make-up recommendations with one eye closed.

The staff at Mothercare take incompetence to a whole new level. Bear in mind that I am far from a typically maternal fawning woman, whose knowledge of baby equipment hovers around the low to zero level. And yet I still knew more about car seats than the indept twerp who attempted to serve me. I rest my case.

2) There's SO MUCH stuff
The Mothercare in Dubai Mall must cover the size of four football pitches if not more. To be fair, if this floorplan was full of clothes, shoes, cosmetics or capybaras, I'd be more interested. But the vastness of it overwhelmed me. Who buys this stuff? And why?

3) The Clothes Are Offensive
I should have known better than to stray into the maternity clothes section. What I found there rendered me speechless. Hideous outfits that my grandmother would baulk at and refuse to wear (she isn't nicknamed Joan Collins for nothing!).

4) It is FULL of Other People's Children
I know this is a tad ironic given that I'll soon have one of my own, but the children in Mothercare seem to be a special breed. An out of control, screaming, raging, mayhem causing breed. I swear my ear drums are still whimpering.

Never mind all the advice about what to eat/what not to eat/what to do with a baby/what not to do with a baby: mothers of the world, please share the most important advice of all: ENTER MOTHERCARE AT YOUR PERIL.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Pregnancy Glow

Heidi has it. Bxxxh!
We've all heard about it. Thousands of pregnant women are no doubt trying to find it: that elusive glow that everyone raves about.

I definitely started to look better after about week twenty. My hair and nails - which always grow super fast in Dubai - were even longer, the aching exhaustion passed, and I felt good. Most of the time I forgot I was pregnant.

And then the heat kicked in.

Dubai in Summer is testing for the best of us, never mind being six or months pregnant. But here's the thing: if you time your car to office walk just right, that slight mist of dewy humidity on your cheeks can (almost) make you look like you've found the Holy Grail of pregnancy glow.

Sadly, if your timing is off, you look like something that the cat coughed up: wet, slimy and to be avoided.

I enjoyed the gamble.

And on the days when I lost I thanked the lord for MAC face powder and this stuff.

The Kindness of Strangers

I am blessed with truly lovely real-life friends who have been an absolute tower of strength throughout my pregnancy.

And I have also encountered overwhelming kindness and support from people who I have either: never met in my life, met very infrequently, or not caught up with in years. Truly incredible.

There was the lady I met on a Dubai forum, who had the same challenges as me, but was pregnant with twins after 4 rounds of IVF. Safe to say I take my hat off to her for how she's handling things. We met online, and graduated to daily emails with updates and support. We shared medical information, hospital advice (crucial) and cheered one another on through dark times and happy times. Our emails literally got me through the day on more than one occasion.

Then there was the lady on a UK forum who also was in the same medical situation, who emailed me before and after emergency surgery, and who even set up an online group where about 15 of us checked in and chatted (virtually) about what we were going through. And what we were going through really wasn't easy. They are an amazing bunch. Again, I have never met any of these lovely ladies.

And then there were the amazingly thoughtful messages and emails from blogger friends and ex-work colleagues that I hadn't spoken to in YEARS. Truly incredible.

Living away from home, going through a high-risk pregnancy, it's hard not to feel isolated. The kindness shown to me by strangers and those far away, the support, advice and joy they gave me, has been immense. Words really can't express how much they have meant. Thank you all.