Friday, 11 October 2013

Week 9: Life in the slow lane by Marilisa

The slow lane of the pool, that is.

With a bit more health and energy under my belt, I've been ramping up the triathlon training again, and really enjoying it. I've held myself back from doing *too* much after a couple of weeks of relative inactivity, but it's good to be back at it.

My one swim this week was marred by some minor annoyances. First of all, I apparently misplaced my ability to swim front crawl in a straight line; every time I tried I ended up headbutting the rope dividing the lanes. I consequently stuck to breaststroke for the most part, to avoid becoming annoyance number 2: the lane hog. There was someone in my lane whose interpretation of "swim anti-clockwise" was "swim down the middle of the lane". I think it was lack of technique - an affliction I can certainly sympathise with - rather than thoughtlessness, but it still made my swim a bit more frantic as I had to keep dodging him.

Annoyance number 3 was that I lost track of my laps partway through. I went for the conservative estimate - I may have actually swum further than I've recorded. I have subsequently discovered that someone has already, a long time ago, had the brilliant idea of inventing a waterproof lap counter, and will be ordering one soon.

My cycle was more successful. I was exhausted when I started, but promised myself to keep going for 5 minutes. I ended up finding a reserve of energy and doing much more than that - with the help of my secret weapon. Yes: some people train with upbeat music, or perhaps enjoy the peace and quiet of their own thoughts. Apparently, I do my best cycling while watching University Challenge. There. My secret's out now.

I've enjoyed my walks, too. Nearly two years after the end of my encounter with hyperemesis gravidarum, the novelty of being able to be out and about, walking around the city, has still not worn off. Some of my regular routes take me past some pretty iconic scenery, too, which doesn't hurt.

I think my next "Nine months of" challenge should be learning how to take decent photos.

This coming week may be the week where I finally break out of my solitude and join my local parkrun for the first time. This terrifies me more than a little, as my faith in my athletic abilities is still pretty much non-existent. Watch this space to find out if I dared to do it or not!

The boring numbers

Swim: 1 session, 20 mins, 400m
Bike: 1 session, 25 mins, 6.5km
Walk: 3 sessions, 92 mins total, 8.75km

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Week 9: Mummy Brain - and cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles! by Sophie

So this week has been somewhat chaotic, probably much how week 9 of my pregnancy was - but in all honesty I can not remember it. The sleepless nights were getting worse; I was lucky enough to commute to work with my husband so by the end of the day I would collapse into the car, close my eyes, fall asleep and press my pressure bands in the hope that we would soon be home and not need to stop. It was around this time that I found out that I had passed my exam... brilliant news, but it meant that I had the practical exam to sit the next month. If I failed that I would have to re-take all of it again, my mind was all over the place: how was I going to be able to work, revise and manage the sickness? It still amazes me how the human body can find such reserves and grow another human. Needless to say my emotions were all over the place and I just needed to remind myself to stay focused. Focus on the fact that I was pregnant and the end result!

This week I have had to remind myself to stay focused... My main focus is obviously Merryn right now, but she has decided that sleeping is for wimps so once again my mind is like a ball of fuzz. Not only did I forget about blog writing, I left it till the Thursday to bake! In the chaos of laundry and baking I went to check how long I had to bake on my phone: it was nowhere to be found... Then I heard the clunk, clunk of it as it went round the washing machine. I reminded myself that all that mattered was that I had a healthy happy family!

Happy Family x 
This week's bake was cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles, sold by Tom at his school placement! x

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The PSS Roadshow continues by Susie

This week I managed to squeeze in another Pregnancy Sickness Support Roadshow event, so here I am with an update a little earlier than expected.

I was kindly invited to speak to the mums at Mere Green 0-5 Stay and Play in Sutton Coldfield.  I would like to say a few thank yous.  Firstly, thank you very much to Lindsay, Karen and all the mums at Mere Green 0-5 for welcoming me so warmly to your playgroup.  Thank you also to my friend, Katie, for coming along to give me some moral support.  Finally, thank you to all the little ones who waited very patiently for their story time while I said a few words about hyperemesis gravidarum, Pregnancy Sickness Support and the nine months of campaign.

Can't beat a bit of potato printing!
On a different note, this week I also received written confirmation from Birmingham City University that I will be lecturing their student midwives in February. So I am now officially a visiting lecturer! I will even get paid a modest fee which I will of course donate to the nine months of campaign.

My next event is a Play Date organised by Mums in the Know on 18 October. I will have the added complication of being just one week into my recovery following knee surgery.  Perhaps a little ambitious but, thankfully, my wonderfully supportive mum and dad will be on hand to chauffeur me door to door and to play with Charlotte while I find a chair to park myself on! Check back in a couple of weeks to see how I manage on my crutches!

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Plodding Along... by Amanda

This week I find myself at a loss when it comes to finding something to blog about. I have quite simply come to a point where I have spent the past week working on the blanket and have nothing new or interesting to share with you. I've added several rows, but to be honest the photo is pretty much the same as last week's...

Last week...

This week!

I've actually added 2 more rows since that second photo was taken mid-week and bearing in mind that the last row I added had 440 stitches in and each new row adds further stitches to that tally, you can understand why progress seems to be looking slower even if it isn't actually getting any slower.

This reminds me quite a lot of pregnancy, actually. Especially one complicated by severe sickness. You spend days, and weeks, and months feeling truly awful and knowing without a doubt you are most definitely pregnant and yet other than a very grey, perhaps very spotty appearance ("You look like you have the measles" said my loving father in those early days) you do not look pregnant at all. You have all these amazing things going on inside your body, but you have no visible bump, no pregnant glow (and may never get that one!), you don't even have a scan photo to show for it and may not have even met a midwife yet. Progress is being made, but it's very hard to see that at times.

And it seems like a double whammy that the time when a woman feels at her absolute worst and needs the most support is the time when hardly anyone knows she is pregnant at all. And that's why I am slowly building up this blanket stitch by stitch. So that the sale of it will bring much needed funds to Pregnancy Sickness Support so that they can offer information and support to women in those long, painful weeks and months in which they grow a beautiful baby, slowly but surely, cell by cell with nothing but a grey complexion and sick bowl to show for it!

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Butternut squash and leek soup - by Muma Dean

I feel a bit cheeky calling this a recipe and as you read it you'll think it's a bit of a lame post as it is just so simple – but try it! It is soooooooo yummy!

I went through a phase of overcomplicating this recipe, adding onion, herbs, cream and other utterly unnecessary embellishments. I've since resorted back to this perfect simplicity as it is by far the best version.


3 or 4 leeks
A butternut squash
Approx 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
A knob of butter or tbs oil


Chop the leeks and butternut squash into chunks and soften in a saucepan with the butter or oil and the lid on.

Once it's all soft add the stock and simmer for 10 mins.

Blitz thoroughly with a hand blender. Season with black pepper if required.

Serve with fresh crusty bread (ideally home made... bread recipes to follow in the next few weeks).

Don't forget, if you like this recipe and use it, a small donation to PSS via my BT MyDonate page is greatly appreciated – Thanks :)

Please support our 'nine months of...' campaign by donating here.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

More training walks by Emma

So after last weeks mammoth training sessions of going from 0k to 30.4k in one week, did I manage to continue? Lets look at the stats:

I took Adam for an early morning run of 3.6k. This running malarkey doesn’t seem to be getting any easier! After breakfast I did 50 minutes of Just Dance on the Wii and managed not to knock Adam over in the process.

The morning started with another 50 minutes on Just Dance. I managed to continue despite jumping onto one of Adams trains – painful! We then did a hill training walk at Gorleston with my Mum and Step-Dad. 

Philip tracked the walk and it came to 5.9k. However this didn’t include running after Adam on the beach. My son certainly loves to run! 

I only managed a 50 minute session on Just Dance and Adams toddler group Tumble Tots.

Another hill training walk to Gorleston with my Mum, Step-Dad and my niece – only 5.7k this time as Philip got distracted by cake and out usual coffee shop was closed. Adam had a fantastic time running in the foam along the sea edge. He loved his foam boots.

The morning started with a 50 minute Just Dance session followed by Adams swimming lesson. The weather was unpredictable in the afternoon but we still attempted a walk. I say attempted because we only managed 1.5k before the rain got too much and I had left Adams water proof cover at home. I don’t think I can track our walk around Tescos instead.

We took Chris (my husband) to Gorleston to show him our hill training walk. We did a shorter version of the walk but managed 4k.

Adam now rarely sleeps on a walk – he is normally too busy pointing out dogs and cars. He was in desperate need of a sleep so I took him to Burlingham Woods. As a baby he would fall asleep as soon as we started walking in the woods and I was glad he hasn’t changed. I did my usual round trip of 4k but Adam was still asleep so decided to do it again! After 8k my arms certainly felt like they had a work out. Some of the track is uneven due to roots so makes it hard work with a pushchair.

So my weeks grand total was 28.7k although I managed 200 minutes on Just Dance. I am extremely excited though because this week three other members of the Nine Months Of challenge and their children will be staying with me in Norfolk. It will be a much needed boost and we will be doing a 9k walk together – so watch this space for our adventures together. 

Remember my BT Donate page can be found here: 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Week 9 - High Five for the Silent HG Heroes! by Helen

Nine months of 9k Week 9 – Location: Ashtead Common & Wimbledon Common

For this week’s 9k and our final catch up 9k, Anna and I were joined for a consecutive week by her Daddy!  Feeling a bit lazy we literally crossed the road onto Ashtead Common not realising that it would be more appropriately named Ashtead Infinite Expanse Of Land That Will Take You A Million Years To Circumnavigate, or something equally catchy. Despite a leisurely pace wearing sensible shoes for the first time with a halfway pub lunch break, it broke us. Let’s not do that again. Ever. 
Wimbledon Common is a much more civilised spot for a family stroll with the added bonus of being the location where Rich and I got engaged in April 2010.  In a disgusting display of sentimental nostalgia, we returned to the exact spot with Anna.  Sickening.  I apologise.

Not a Womble in sight.  Disappointing.

Nine months of HG Week 9 – High Five for the Silent HG Heroes!

Comatose or drifting in and out of consciousness with a touch of post-HG selective amnesia – I have absolutely no recollection of this week whatsoever.  There are no emails or correspondence with a single soul to jog the memory, and my Facebook hadn’t been updated since week 5.  A case of survival and existence.

Since the first hospital trip in week 6, Mum had been down from Aberdeen to care for me and give Rich a break from the monotony.  Although the physical symptoms of HG are horrifying for the pregnant woman, the reality for those caring for her is pretty grim.  To see someone you love in such an extreme state of poor health is distressing and quite frightening at times but also incredibly boring and lonely. Regularly traipsing up and down stairs to drip feed water into parched lips, administer drugs or assist with a trip to the bathroom.  Endless, mind-numbing daytime TV.  Craving company but remaining poised to cater to even the most tentative of attempts to eat.  Cooking, cleaning, shopping and housework; all whilst avoiding making any noise or causing the slightest whiff of a scent which could trigger a surge of nausea.  Struggling to explain to friends, family or colleagues why you have to leave work early every day or why you’re living out of a suitcase and why you’re working yourself into the ground to care for someone with “morning sickness.”  Think it’s safe to say it’s not exactly on the bucket list! 

So here’s to the silent heroes of HG!  The HG carers; husbands, partners, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends who have been there, done that and who have the vast knowledge of un-scented household products and the long list of food aversions etched into their memories to prove it!
*high five*
First ever cuddle from Grandma Alison.

Brand new Daddy.