Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Ultrasound: Baby's first picture

I was so nervous on the morning of our ultrasound. We had not told anyone we were pregnant as we wanted to wait until the 12 weeks to be sure everything was going ok and also so we wanted to have a photo to show everyone.

In the waiting room of Ultrasound Dimensions, Blackrock, Dublin I felt sick, not pregnancy related, just that feeling deep in the pit of your stomach. What if I wasn't pregnant?  What if I had made it up in my head (despite the pregnancy test and doctors confirmation)? What if I had been pregnant but had lost the baby? What if there was an issue?

Having never had an ultrasound before I didn't know what the protocol was, I was expecting the gel to be cold (from all the movies!) - but I did not expect it to hurt! The technician really pushed that thing down on my tummy! We heard the heartbeat, looked at each other and smiled and then looked to the technician, she confirmed it was our baby’s heartbeat. I saw a flicker on the screen - but she moved away from it. She seemed confused and I started to sweat.

“Nothing to worry about” she smiled as she changed utensils, pushed hard on my tummy and moved it about “we will come back to baby in a minute” she said. Then she went to “check something” and my heart was in my mouth, what was going on - how was my baby?

She came back with her book and announced “You have two wombs”
What about baby?

Baby was fine, kicking about, doing back flips and baby even waved at us!

The first picture of our baby

But baby was not what our technician was interested in. She said she had never seen this before but believed it was a Uterus didelphys or a Bicornuate uterus. She had only ever studied the 'abnormalities' - which did not put me at ease.
She assured me that the uterine didelphys wouldn’t cause any problems with the pregnancy, but that I should check it out after birth.
She found it strange I never knew, but I had never had any issues, expect heavy periods - which I thought was common.

In the cafe afterwards, my husband and I laughed. We were overjoyed that out baby seemed healthy, we had a good picture of our bundle of joy and our heads were filled with dreams. But we had also come away with unexpected news.

As I tried to come to terms with my two womb situation, we went home and told our families the good news.
My freak out about my wombs came a few days later!

*It turned out to be a Bicornuate Uterus - more on that later!

Anybody else have an unusual first ultrasound experience?

Sunday, 22 February 2015

12 things to do in the First Trimester

The first trimester of pregnancy can be the most agonising, as you wait to get to the “magical” 12 week stage. Although getting past the first trimester will not mean you are safe from any issues arising it is a good indicator.

If you find out early that you are pregnant, you could be looking at the next eight weeks wondering what the hell you should do - but have no fear. After being, there, doing that and getting a baby - I have some ideas.

1. Confirm your pregnancy
I would advice going to see your GP at the 6-8 week mark. Sooner than that and your chemist bought pregnancy test is just as accurate. All the doctor will really do is confirm your pregnancy as this stage. But if you have any concerns voice them now.

2. Start taking Folic Acid
If you have not been taking them already (you should have - I didn’t) start popping them as soon as you see the positive blue lines. I would also recommend a good prenatal vitamin, it helped me to stay healthy throughout the pregnancy and you need all the help you can get!

3. Private or Public
In Ireland you need to decide whether you want private or public health care for your maternity. Public health care is free and I can vouch that it worked perfectly for us. But private care may provide more scans or a plan better suited to you, so check it out now.

4. Quit smoking
I think once you start reading about the effects of smoking on your unborn baby, you will find the willpower.

5. Stop drinking alcohol
The professional advice differs daily on this one, I think a glass of wine every now and again would be fine, but I found that I just didn't want any alcohol when I was pregnant.

6. Cut down on caffeine
If you drink a lot (more than 3 cups) of tea or coffee a day it makes sense to cut down, try a herbal tea or even better start drinking more water.

7. Avoid hazardous foods
Again this list can change regularly, but try to keep them in mind and be sensible. When I was
pregnant the advice was no tuna - I love tuna so I limited it to once a week. Also do try to make healthier choices, cut back on take aways and read food labels (when you are not falling asleep in the supermarket!)

8. Sign up to loads of baby websites
You can  get offers and discounts on items and week by week updates on the baby and your development. Try these. And buy baby books.

9. Maternity Rights
If you are working, look into the type of cover, time off and plan your workplace has for soon to be moms.

10. Baby names and baby clothes
Don’t make any quick decisions, but start to look at names and discuss them. Although you feel the need to start buying loads of cute baby clothes, hold off until later in your pregnancy, maybe buy one of two items to cuddle!

11. Take care of yourself
Seriously, we all live hectic lives. When your body is tired listen to it. Rest, relax, try to avoid stress and maybe take your life out of the fast lane and enjoy a Sunday drive - for you and your baby.

Yes I was snapped taking a nap - one of many!
12. Baby news
Plan how you are going to let your family, friends and the whole world know that you are growing your own little bundle of joy - so exciting!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The First 12 Weeks

The first trimester of my pregnancy was the most exciting, exhausting and longest part of growing my baby!

Once you have got over the initial shock, then the madness begins, all the questions come rushing at once, you don’t know what to do or where to start!

Obviously I took to Google (as we all do - this is probably how you found this post!) and I asked my million questions and signed up to LOADS of websites that provide week by week updates. Try out Babycentre, Mummypages, thebump, eumom and what to expect.Then I went and ordered pregnancy and baby books - just so I could try and stay ahead of the game and be prepared for what to expect!
The first trimester for most women is unfortunately filled with vomit, the thoughts of vomiting, trying not to vomit and cleaning up vomit.
I thank every God, that I did not get any morning sickness, but don’t click off with annoyance I did suffer later on in my pregnancy!
Although I didn't have any sickness, I did feel unwell for the first few weeks, and shortly after finding out I was pregnant I came down with a horrible flu and sinus infection. It was beyond miserable as I couldn't take any medication only hot water, lemon and one measly paracetamol - which was obviously useless. Despite recommendations I had to use vicks vapour rub and to help me recover.

Exhaustion was the biggie for me, I lacked any motivation to do anything. I quit my spinning and kettlebell classes, I didn’t want to walk, I didn’t want to clean or cook or do anything really only rest!
If you think you have control over your emotions, well prepare to let go of the leash! I am not one to cry and I would think of myself as “strong” emotionally but the first trimester is when I realised those pesky hormones had taken over my body. You will cry for no reason, for some silly reasons and you become a little irrational - warn your partner/ friends/ family now!

No bump yet!

One strange unexplained thing that occurred during the first few weeks for me, was my body temperature gauge broke. I was freezing, I just couldn’t get my back warm. I sat on the stove, I slept and rested with a hot water bottle, but there was no shaking it. I was a cold stone. I did ask the doctor and he said most women feel warmer at this time, but it was nothing to worry about and it disappeared after 12 weeks.
Beauty regime, if you regularly get waxed be in eyebrows, bikini, legs or underarms, be warned, it will hurt A LOT more. If you use a regular beautician she may know you are pregnant as you will go redder than usual. I usually get my eyebrows and eyelashes tinted (they are naturally blond) and in the first trimester the dye pigment just washed off the day after the treatment!
Discharge - be prepared and get used to this one. Yes you will go nine months without your period, but it won’t be all rosy down there!!
The size of a 12 week old fetus!!

Check out things to do and don’t do in the first trimester!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Ultimate Test - two thin blue lines

*** This post relates to March 2014 ***

You may have asked yourself a few times in your life, or this could be the very first time you say out loud in your mind “Am I Pregnant?”
Depending on where you are, your state of mind and age this question can leave you excited, confused or fearful. For many, despite maybe wanting a baby, it can still leave you with all these feelings.

So what are the early pregnancy symptoms?
Cramps, increased discharge, boobs feeling sore and or heavy, feeling tired, feeling sick or getting sick,feeling faint, back pain, thrush,spotting and a missed period.

Everyone is different, but for me I felt terrible, not quite sick, not quite in pain but terrible all the same, something was wrong. The only thing I could think of was a yeast infection, I do have an intolerance to yeast and had been having a jolly time with bread in the weeks previous! So for the first few days I took no notice.

Two days before my period was due, I started to get slightly suspicious. I had no pain, no twinge, not even a breakout, but I still did not feel well. On the day I was due my period I got thrush. I had never had thrush, so I knew something was up. I bought two pregnancy tests (I heard one could be inaccurate) and waited for a few days, my boobs started to feel heavy and sore and so I did start to believe I could be pregnant.

I woke up on a Saturday morning and went to take the test. I had told my husband about my suspicions but he was pretty convinced I wasn't pregnant. As soon as I took the test out of the package, I knew I was pregnant. Don’t ask how or why, I just knew.

I told my hubby, it was going say positive, “How sure are you?” he asked as we brushed our teeth.
“I’m 85%” I replied, and he looked shocked. 3 mins later I turned the stick over and there it was two thin blue lines that would forever change our lives. I didn't need to take another test, I knew it was correct.

The confirmation ... I was pregnant!

How did I feel? Happy I was right, happy there wasn't something else wrong with me, excited, scared, frightened, confused and dazed.
I am sure my husband felt most of these as well, but I think the main feeling for him was surprise! We were delighted, but also shocked we got pregnant so quick.

I knew straight away that I didn’t want to tell anyone I was pregnant, I can be quite a negative/ realistic person, so I was scared of something happening before 12 weeks. My mother and mother in law are worriers so I didn’t want to give them anything to worry about, just yet! I made my hubby swear not to tell (he isn’t good with secrets) and we tried to get on with our lives.

It is so difficult to go through your life knowing something so big, pretending to listen while you dream, pretending to be normal when there is a baby growing inside of you!!

But we did get to 12 weeks with just one or two leaks and for us it was worth it.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Back in the game

I have returned, back with a vengeance and a little difference!

After being MIA from the blog world for over 12 months, I have decided to return and I aim to blog at least once a week.

So 2014 was a really hectic year, I got married in a Winter Wonderland Wedding in Courmayeur, Italy on January 11 and a few months later I was delighted to discover I was pregnant.
Most of the year was spent preparing for our first born, and we were still caught on the hop when she arrived five weeks early on October 7!

Almost four months on, life has certainly changed, but I am still me (despite the bags under the eyes, the puke stained top and a new found love for chocolate) and in an effort to remind myself that some of the old me still exists, I want to return to what I love - writing.

2014 - Wedding, pregnant, baby born, and sitting pretty at 3 months old!

To my surprise, I have received so much correspondence from readers over the past 12 months, people commenting and liking my older posts, some asking questions and advice on travel in Ireland and abroad and quite a few requesting I return to the blog world.

Thank you for all the support, as my life has changed somewhat, my posts will reflect that change, so I hope that my loyal readers and the new ones too will enjoy them.

There will be some baby talk, thrown in amongst travel, adventure, lifestyle and current issues as well as random musings!

I hope to bring some changes to the blog in regards style and hope that you all will enjoy this new journey. As always leave a comment, share, like or contact me directly.

The Seeking Adventure bus is back - hop on board! 

It is good to be back, here is to an exciting 2015! What would you like me to post about?

Much love,
FiFi xxx

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Searching for the perfect honeymoon

Picking a honeymoon destination is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make. 
(Yes I live a lovely, fluffy, care free life!)

As we had a destination wedding in January, we decided it would be nice to come home and have a honeymoon to look forward to later in the year. I also knew I would need to occupy my once filled wedding brain with something post nuptials.

But it is oh so difficult to pick a destination.
I already have my own personal top three honeymoon location:
But the issue is, we have already been to these locations.

Driving along the rural roads in Cuba

Before the wedding, we had thought that Vietnam would be an ideal location. Asia intrigues us both and this beautiful country would allow us adventure, relaxation and culture.
But now that the grand event is over (and all the money is spent!) the gloss is wearing off it. Flights are expensive, we only have two weeks to play with and we have a conflict with the ‘best time of year’ to visit.

Giza Pyramids, Egypt 2012
So now my mind has been refocused back to Europe and the Middle East. There are some fab beaches and resorts scattered about this continent and obviously there is culture and history galore to explore, but which one do I pick for a honeymoon?
Ideally we would like to do some sightseeing, partake in a fun activity and spend a few days relaxing.

Fiji islands, 2008

Crete, Sicily, Croatia, Malta, Greek islands, Jordan and Tunisia are all on my radar.

Do any of you have any tips, advice or indeed destinations you would think suitable?

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Geneva doesn't need tourists

Geneva is a city that we all know well, the second most populous city in Switzerland, a ‘global city,’ a financial centre and a City of Peace  ... but not a holiday destination.

Lake Geneva with Jet d'Eau

I don’t really recall seeing Geneva advertised much as a place to visit, it certainly hasn't a large reliance on the tourism market and this is for two reasons:

1. It doesn't need tourists
2. It is very expensive.

In case you think I am starting off too negative, let me confuse you further - Geneva is beautiful.
Geneva has culture, it has grace, it will entertain you and the food is exquisite.

The French speaking city which boasts the Headquarters of the United Nations and the Red Cross hosts a number of international talks and meetings between different countries and groups each year. The city is home to a large number of diplomats and sees an enormous number of foreign visitors each week on various business, so they don’t necessarily need "tourists".

Geneva is in fact, a very travel friendly city, public transport is free to those staying in hotels in or around the city, the landmarks are well signposted and easily accessed, everyone speaks English (along with a host of other languages) and there is plenty to photograph.

But it is expensive, hotel rooms cost a bomb, food and drink is on the very high end, most of the shops only sell designer items and Swiss Francs (CHF) do not last long in your pocket.
Yummy cafe mocha!

When I visited the city for three days, I used the location as a buffer zone (as many do politically). I arrived after a hectic ten pays in Courmayeur, Italy from my Winter Wedding and a ski holiday. I was wrecked. From Geneva I would be returning home to more celebrations.
So I needed to rejuvenate in Geneva, I wanted the city to give me balance, restore my spirits and yet also entertain me.
And as it usually does for countries all over the world and rivalling groups seeking resolution, 
Geneva thankfully delivered.

Due to high prices for accommodation we stayed Novotel Geneve Centre in the Red Light District. The location was perfect, and the area was lovely during the day, at night there was security outside the hotel and plenty of ladies pacing the streets, but nothing intimidating.

The broken chair at Place des Nations

As our time was short, and my energy was low we went to see some of the city’s main highlights, while stopping regularly for coffee, drinks, and food. The coffee, pastries and food were truly French inspired culinary treats.

The Jet d’Eau fountain of water which is pumped 140m into the air is a real spectacle. The spurt of water was once an occasional pressure release for hydro-power generation on the Rhone River - but it was so popular that in 1891 they made it a permanent exhibition. Stunning at night when it is lit up - this is a sight to be seen from a distance as the surrounding half kilometre will have you soaked in water!

Cath├ędral St Pierre is also worth taking the time to admire. Originally built as a Catholic place of worship, it embodies the high point of the reformation.

Place des Nations - home of the United Nations Headquarters is a must see when in Geneva. We didn't actually go inside the centre (energy levels were low) but the square which usually hosts a colourful protest and the interesting broken chair sculpture as well as the flags, the large building and the security (you might even spot a few blacked out limousines carrying some important people!)

Shopping - Geneva’s city centre rivals New York, Paris and London for designer shopping. Even if all you can do is stare into the windows drooling a walk through the expensive street is part of the Geneva experience.

Finally for me Geneva was a food heaven. Admittedly it steals from the French, but it packages it up nicer, puts a hefty price tag on your dinner and makes it feel more exclusive, more delicious, even divine!

Cathedrale St Pierre, Geneva


- Flew into Geneva International Airport with Aer Lingus from Dublin