I am ten days away from my due date and I am in Ghent, standing upright in the turning bit of the tram. I’m holding on to the rails for dear life as the floor shifts beneath me.

There is a middle-aged couple sitting down on the seats next to me, happily chatting. A group of students are behind me in seats, laughing together. There are other commuters, busy on their phones. I am carrying heavy shopping bags that are digging into my shoulders, my back aches, and balancing is a serious challenge with the belly.

The tram stops, and a single seat opens. I move towards it, but I’m not fast enough and it’s taken by someone else. The tram goes on, and so does my white-knuckled grip on the rail. I have been having practice contractions for days, and one rolls over me, making me breathe shallowly. Sweat prickles on the back of my neck. Don’t fall. Don’t fall.

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A pregnancy is considered full term between 37 and 42 weeks, and that’s me now, baby Sunshine would be absolutely fine if she was born right this second. It’s like the brownies in the oven have started smelling like delicious chocolate, and we have to expect the ‘ding!’ from the oven timer any time now.

Only, and I hate to admit this, we are not even remotely ready! I’m pretty sure at this point I should be sitting on the sofa with my feet up doing nothing but watching Netflix, eating ice-cream, and moaning about how I can’t stand another minute of being pregnant. I feel a little cheated out of it actually because I was quite looking forward to doing just that *laughs*

But we have a ‘to do’ list that’s about as long as my arm, and both Jo and I are stressed about getting through it before there is a little one making life a million times more challenging. I thought we would be fine at this point, we started preparing so early! But there is so much more involved in baby baking than I realised.

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We risked taking the Eurostar to London for a long weekend at 36 weeks pregnant, one last trip as ‘just the two of us’. London is where we started this pregnancy, it seemed fitting to go one more time with my belly full of baby kicks and turns and hiccups, and to say a small thank you to the city that has brought us so much.

As my due date is looming ever closer we did consider the chance that I might go into labour while we were there, but we got the okay from our midwives  to travel, and I really don’t feel as if it’s going to happen any time soon. It certainly would have been an admin nightmare to give birth there but we took the chance, and no babies were had *g*

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I am sharing these pictures mainly because they make me laugh – to hell with the nicely posed serene maternity portraits, here’s reality in all its unfiltered glory. ;)

Yes, I am resembling a planet these days. When I lie down in the bath I feel a bit like a turtle that’s flipped over and can’t get up again without some embarrassing wobble-like manoeuvre. But the bit you can’t see here is that baby Sunshine absolutely LOVES baths.

It was where I felt her move for the first time and where she has consistently been the most active. That shy little flutter has grown into ginormous kicks, and these days my belly is stretched from left to right as various limbs stretch and twist under my skin. I imagine she’s attempting a swim in there, trying on a crawl or a butterfly stroke, wanting me to notice.

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Jo and I went to a baby carrying workshop last week. We practised with different sorts of wraps and carriers with weighted dolls – floppy, heavy plastic things that feel nothing like a real baby. But there were people there with actual newborns, and I couldn’t help but stare at these pink, scrunchy-faced little humans. Do I really have one of those inside of me right now?

It feels like an odd dream to me at this point, like it can’t possibly be true.

At the 32 week scan we found out our little baby Sunshine is not that little any more, she was already weighing in at 2040grams that day, so she’s probably heavier by now. She even has hair already! The gynaecologist checked the placenta and all the related veins (because I have an abnormal umbilical cord attachment) but we got the all okay for a home birth. So if I don’t go overdue, I will not see a gynaecologist again. It makes me feel a little weird. Are you sure there aren’t more checks to do? Do you genuinely believe I’m qualified to go off and birth a whole human being in the near future? What???

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