Thursday, July 26, 2007

OK, now this IS scary...

Jase and I went to Queen Charlotte's today for me to have my 32 week scan. I'm actually almost at 33 weeks, but due to the way the clinics work this was when my scan was due.

The report from the scan was extremely good; the baby is actually "well above average" as the ultrasound lady put it. The baby seems to be growing along the 75th centile (i.e. is in the top 25% of the baby population in terms of height and predicted weight). This is a pleasant surprise when you consider that Baby 2 is already at a predicted 2.14kg at almost 33 weeks, when my little Lauren was 1.9kg at 34 weeks.

We were just a little curious to find out what that would mean in terms of final predicted birth weight if Baby 2 goes to full term. This evening, I got out Lauren's health records which contain predicted growth centile charts in them.

When you follow the 75th centile line to full term, you get a predicted weight of Baby 2 coming in at an eye-watering 8lbs 2oz (3.7kg in new money). OK, for those out there who've delivered 12lb babies I know it does not sound like much, but it's almost twice Lauren's weight at her birth.

I am obviously really pleased on one hand but can't help being just a teensy bit apprehensive on the other hand...! All depends on my final scan at 36 weeks, when we will see if Baby 2 is still breach (which is the current position).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Trying not to get stressed

As a lot of you will know, we have had one hellish week. Life has been a bit of a roller coaster with poor Jase being made redundant (again) on Monday afternoon and me being interviewed for a permanent job on Wednesday. Although Jase is still looking for work (obviously early days yet as it has been less than a week) I am so pleased to have secured a permanent job to give the family some security.

Obviously, we hope that stuff will be sorted before my pay is reduced with maternity leave. I still have 7 weeks to go before my due date (but then again, look at what happened last time!) and don't plan to go off work until either I can no longer do the job or I go into labour.

Work is stressful as always as it is busy, busy, busy and there's always so much to do in a tight time frame. August is always a time of huge upheaval at work as well, with lots of new staff coming to work for us which adds to all the stress (for them and for us!).

Adding to all of this, I think Lauren has been a little bit under the weather recently. We don't know why because she seems alright from the outside and isn't running a fever or anything obvious. However, it might be reflux as she was woken up by vomiting on Sunday morning and she hasn't been eating all that well, which hasn't happened for a long time. Might have to go and get some baby Gaviscon to see if that makes a difference.

However, despite all of this, we actually managed to a pretty good weekend (despite the rain and news reports of flooding nearby in Chiswick).

Lauren was fascinated by this cat in our back garden.

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She also decided it would be fun to try out Mama's shoes!

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On Sunday, we had a sunny day and went to the park to feed the ducks. She had a good time on the see-saws and slides as always.

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Unfortunately, I have a huge document to write and edit before Wednesday next week to aid induction of our new staff, so I suppose I'd better get on and do that. On the plus side, I am really looking forward to my scan this Wednesday and seeing the baby again!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yay!

Just a quick note to say "Well Done!" to Serena.

She had her interview for her first permanent Consultant job yesterday and passed.

Finally some stability!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ducks again

Lauren and I braved Ravenscourt Park again today. Mindful of the recent thunderstorms and our experience last week, we did take coats and parked the car close to the gate of the park.

I had brought some crusts of bread to feed the ducks. Lauren loved it, although got slightly nervous when one of the big Canada geese got a bit too close for comfort!

Here's a short video of Lauren feeding the ducks and pigeons.



Afterwards, Lauren and I went to the toddlers' playground where she ran about and played on the climbing frame, see-saw and slide. I still can't get her to go on the swings; she is terrified of them and I still don't know why!

Later on, we both got hungry and went for some lunch in Chiswick. Lauren and I shared some lovely fish and chips.

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However, we didn't stay too long as she was in a mischievous mood and was treatening to destroy the joint. Don't be fooled by the innocent look on her face!

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After a short stroll, we went home as Lauren was tired. We ended the afternoon watching her favourite programme, In The Night Garden.

Her sleeping problems seem to be a bit better since the weekend, which is a blessing as I am on call all this week and very tired as the pregnancy progresses. I am hoping for a relatively peaceful night...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Catching Up

This post is to bring you all up to date with what we've been up to following our holiday.

Last week, I had another scan of the baby to make sure that the baby is growing properly. I was relieved to find that this pregnancy is going really well. The baby is growing and it looks like they will be bigger than Lauren. I'm now almost at 30 weeks, and feeling huge already (as you can see from the photos in Barcelona). My next scan is at the end of July.

At the weekend, we spent the day with my Aunt Pei (the eldest of Mum's sisters) who is over in London at the moment to watch Wimbledon. She's travelling with her friend Anita, and we had the two of them for dinner. It was really fantastic to see her as we have not seen her for 10 years! She also enjoyed meeting Lauren and was really pleased to be the first of my aunts and uncles to get to see her in the flesh.

Aunt Pei with Jase and me.

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Anita, Aunt Pei and me.

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I cooked them a turbot, some roast pork and some spinach. They told me it was a welcome change from sandwiches the whole week! We all had a wonderful time and I was sad when they finally had to go.

Today we went to Ravenscourt Park in the afternoon to feed the ducks and for Lauren to play on the slide and climbing frame.

However, I should have known that the sunshine would not last. This has been the wettest summer I remember since living in London. Only the summer before we went to Australia (the summer of 2001) was wetter, but obviously we were still In Scotland then!

We arrived to find this ominous looking cloud hanging over the park.

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Undeterred, Lauren and I went to feed the ducks, swans and pigeons. They were certainly glad to see us!

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We had just finished that when we could hear thunder, and it was heading our way. The sky darkened dramatically and Lauren and I walked very quickly back to the car. Just as we shut the door of the car, the heavens opened. We were really thankful to be inside the car, as the downpour was torrential and within minutes, the road was starting to flood.

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This is our rain soaked back garden. Both plants and weeds alike have been enjoying the extra water!

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Initially, we were planning to get the outside of our house painted this summer but with no recent dry weather it has been an impossible task. It will just have to wait...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Barcelona Holiday, Part II

I know it's taken me a long time to get blogging on our holiday in Barcelona; however, I have had a hectic few weeks since getting back from holiday. I was on call for work all week in the week we got back and have had some horrendous shifts at work. That and Lauren has not been sleeping all that well at night, so Jase and I have been pretty shattered.

Barcelona was fabulous. Jase and I had not been before, and neither had Hube nor Bonnie. Mum and Dad had been once before and had stayed in the centre of town (literally on La Rambla) but had only stayed a few days and hadn't even known that there was a beach there.

We stayed in one of the beach districts called Barceloneta, which was the old fishermen's quarter. We had rented an apartment which turned out to be spacious and clean, if a little noisy at night. I think that was inevitable as we were very central in Barceloneta.

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Everyone settled into the apartment very quickly. Lauren slept with us in our bedroom. Here's Lauren with my MP3 player out relaxing to some music!

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We had some covered balconies in the apartment which were great for letting in the sea breeze. Lauren enjoyed going out onto these balconies to watch the world go by. She was especially fascinated by the ambulances and police cars!

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Over the ten days we were there, we did a fair amount of sightseeing. However, I found it quite hard with the heat (especially in the second week) and with being six months into my pregnancy. I got tired very easily and wanted to sleep all the time! Having said that, Lauren also needed sleep in the afternoon, so the others went to see some things on days when we returned to the apartment to rest.

Of course, one of the first places we visited was La Rambla, along with its famous market. We walked from Plaça Catalunya down to the market, and on another day we made it all the way down to the statue of Columbus.

The amazing tiled rooves of a building near Plaça Catalunya.

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The three of us at Plaça Catalunya.

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The bustling La Rambla, a pedestrianised street in the heart of Barcelona.

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The food in Barcelona was fabulous. We often went to the local markets; the range of fresh produce was just incredible. We ate a great deal of fresh fish and seafood, all of which was beautifully cooked. This is the family at a lovely restaurant called Las Gavinas in Barceloneta.

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Here is the family after another lovely meal, on the way back to our apartment.

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Below is a picture of the main market in Barcelona, located on La Rambla.

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We also managed to treat ourselves one night to an early 9th wedding anniversary dinner at the amazing Comerç 24 , a Michelin star restaurant serving modern tapas. The food and wine combinations (sadly I only had a sip!) were mind blowing and we had an unforgettable evening.

Of course, no visit to Barcelona would be complete without seeing the works of Antoni Gaudí, namely the Sagrada Família, Park Güell, and his famous houses the Casa Milà and Casa Batlló.

La Sagrada Família is the famous unfinished cathedral of Gaudi in Barcelona, richly organic in design. It has two highly contrasting entrances, the Passion façade and the Nativity façade.

The Passion façade and the spires of the cathedral.

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This is Lauren and me outside the Nativity façade.

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I must admit that both Jase and I were initially quite sceptical about visiting what is essentially a massive building site. However, neither of us were prepared for the sheer beauty and majesty of the building.

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It was a wonderful experience, and we will certainly want to see it once it is finished (estimated to be 2026)!

Park Güell was just lots of fun. Full of exuberant mosiacs, it contained both wonderful structures and gardens. Thankfully (as there was a lot of walking) we went with Mum and Dad on a cool day towards the end of the holiday.

Jase looking out over Barcelona.

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Under the colonnaded walkway.

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Mum and Dad with Lauren on the double staircase.

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It wasn't all running around sightseeing though. We managed to also spend a fair amount of time on the lovely beach at Barceloneta. Lauren was initially a bit nervous of the sea, but quickly started to enjoy the waves (as you can see from the video we took of her on the beach).

This is Lauren and me playing in the surf.

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Lauren and Daddy in the sea.

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The little girl playing on the beach and floating her beach shoes in the surf!

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I can honestly say that we had a really wonderful time. It was lovely to spend some time with Hube and Bonnie, and to let them get to know Lauren a bit better. Mum and Dad (as always) loved having the time with their children and grandchild. The only annoyance was when Hube got his wallet (with credit cards, money and Green Card!) pickpocketed on the underground, but even that only dampened our spirits slightly.

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Our family photos can be seen here in our Flickr collection.

More photos of beautiful Barcelona can be seen here in another one of my Flickr albums.

Of course, it was over all too soon and before we knew it we were all flying back home. Sadly, we probably won't see Hube and Bonnie again until their wedding next August. However, they've promised us plenty of updates on their blog!