Mini Wolstencroft

This is a travel blog. A climbing blog. But there’s no denying a mention that we’re also parents now too. Its my birthday tomorrow and our baby will be 12 weeks old. Travel, climbing and a baby are our future, they all mesh together now and will make for interesting writing…

Evelyn arrived a day early. One minute I’m pregnant and the next I have another person permenantly attached for the foreseeable future. I have a whole other devoted to the baby blog.

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Evelyn is firmly glued to my side 99% of the time because breastfeeding is tying. Its the way it should be but it is exhausting so we’ve got a few little strategies to cope with that because she won’t take a bottle of expressed milk. I don’t blame her. I have a bath or catch up on house work when Taz gets home and walks the dog with baby in the sling. I sometimes get chance to swim when Laura sit in the gyms cafe where I can be waved out if needed, or run for 20 minutes if she’s fed and happy when Taz is home, or climb while others are entertaining the baby in the same room. We even boulder just the 2 of us, one climbs and the other entertains. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

It has taken 12 weeks to feel like a balanced human being, with more sleep and a bit of time for exercise.

Mini wolstencroft will be traveling. It’s just a question of when. She will spend quite some time playing with sand in south East Asian countries. We are drawn to this part of the world.

For the remainder of this year we’re grounded. We’re at centre Parcs for a few days between Christmas and New year, including our first wedding anniversary.

Next year were going to Italy for Sarah’s wedding. I’m going on hols to Greece with my mum, sister, niece and of course Evelyn who will be 9 months old I think… Maybe another couple of trips in there too. In the mean time we’re saving for a bigger adventure! We think 2017, before Evelyn is 2 so we can save on a seat price and have a numb lap instead 😉

This is a small post for 12 weeks! But pictures say 1000 words so here’s a few of the little beauty!

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Getting ready for babies arrival… And my climbing decline

Jemma here. Since my last post, much has happened! All of this is on the baby blog in great (and probably boring week by week) detail. But to summarise:

  • I’ve sprouted a BIG belly and it still has 7+ weeks left of growing to do, I’m 33 weeks pregnant now (well, tomorrow…)
  • We’ve been planning for our future, sorted a few financial things out, the main one being a good mortgage deal for our house.
  • I’ve been talking Taz into travelling one way or another with our baby when she’s 2 or 3.
  • I stopped climbing and I’m ok with it!

When I last posted I was a newlywed, and I felt like morning sickness had completely taken over my life and would never subside. Thankfully it did give up at around 13-14 weeks and I’ve been quite comfortable since. I’ve been very active and feeling “normal”. I did get back into climbing in my second trimester when I wasn’t sick any more, I swam and did yoga and also did kettle bells, went to the gym etc. Here’s a summary in photo’s of the “second trimester”:

I just about got used to the idea of being pregnant when the third and final trimester rolled around. This is when the heaviness and sleeplessness started to set in and my exercise is now limited to swimming, yoga and walking. This was a good time to go to Tunisia with Laura and Lily! So we went for a week of sunshine and all inclusiveness. It was really nice.

So here’s the climbing story: I stopped bouldering immediately, stopped leading at 20 weeks and stopped roping all together at 22. Traversed up to 26 weeks:

  • 5 weeks – Emotional and crying on the lead rope that I was going to lose my climbing ability forever, shaky and weak. My head had gone, I was scared. So I stopped bouldering and leading because I was scared of falling. I’d heard about the placenta being ripped away from the uterus wall through sport and this terrified me (irrationally) although there wasn’t much of anything even there yet.
  • 6-10 weeks – No climbing, very sick, exhausted and weak.
  • 11-18 weeks – Back from 5/6 weeks off. Weak from time off but motivated, not scared. After a few weeks back I can still flash my usual 6b+ level, still trying harder routes on the top rope. Leading confidence back. Full body harness from 15 weeks. Presuming the crying and fear of the earlier days came from initial baby hormones! And shock. Now feeling unstoppable.
  • 19-20 weeks – Only leading the easiest of routes (Up to 6a+). Can still do 6b+ level on top rope but anything harder feels impossible, probably down to loss of strength through not bouldering, and not pushing myself as much.
  • 21 weeks – Just top roping now but the downside is the top rope walls are slabby and my bump gets in the way so routes feel harder, I’d still be able to top rope lead walls but have no-one to put the rope up for me – injured partner!
  • 22 weeks – Last top roped climb. The small foot holds scare me as if I slipped there’s a good chance I’d land belly first on the wall.
  • 23-25 weeks – No climbing, partner still injured and no motivation for slab walls.
  • 26 weeks – 15 minute continual traverse on the steep wall. This was possible, extra weight is obvious in how hard it feels. lots of rests and shaking off on the wall. I could keep this up a while longer but it’s boring and seems pointless, also hard to find a quiet time when I can traverse.

I thought I’d be flying up routes at 40 weeks but this isn’t how it happened for me and I’m ok with that. It felt pointless after 20 weeks really because I couldn’t put the effort in that I wanted to without compromising myself and my bump. I’ve found other things to do that are insanely boring (apart from walking the dogs, I like that) but keep me active. I plan on using some maternity time to take the baby to the wall during the day, which in my experience in my student days means I’ll have it to myself probably.

The third trimester (so far) in photo’s:

We’re in Germany for Taz’s 32nd birthday this year while we’re over for Craig and Doerthe’s wedding. We are on our way there now, going for 4 days and staying in Doerthe’s mums b&b. Should be a really nice break together and I’ve no doubt the last before the baby’s here 🙂

So here’s me a few days ago. I don’t know what I’ll look like in 7 weeks time!

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Florida, Marriage, Babies

A lot has happened since we went on that camper trip back in August last year.

  • Taz cycled from London to Paris
  • We went on holiday to Florida
  • We got pregnant (I have a separate blog for the baby www.ablogforourbaby.wordpress.com)
  • We got married

Blogs about London to Paris (if I can get Taz to knuckle down and write one), Florida and getting married are still to come, but here’s the one about our baby! This blog post will probably be very very boring to people that don’t climb. DSC08257 I reached a point where a baby came up all the time in conversation with Taz. It sounds terrible to some people, but climbing was one of the main reasons I kind of dreaded ever having a baby, that and limited/awkward travel. Not just because it’s a sport I like but because it’s my lifestyle. Such a short break sets you back at least twice as long as you’ve had off, how long would a baby set me back? Would we be able to have random adventurous climbing holidays the way we do now? And what if something went wrong and I never went back? But I got over it with positivity. Lots of people carry on, lots go back and if worst comes to it, what’s more important in the grand scheme of things? I found my peace with having a baby through blogs about pregnant climbers and parent climbers and on youtube. And my mum did say having a baby was a whole new adventure!

Cimbing this autumn in Wales helping a friend with his photography project.

Climbing this autumn in Wales helping a friend with his photography project.

One of the first blogs I found was this: Crush Crux. This is where I learned about the first harness designed for pregnant people – The Mountain Mama. The woman who wrote it, Cate has the philosophy that “at the end of nine months, I will ask my body to do one of the most physically demanding actions I will ever ask it to do. So why would I spend the months leading up to that moment letting my fitness and strength decline?” I was also reassured to read that she shrugged off negativity about climbing pregnant and that there was a specific harness that would allow me to carry on safely and comfortably. If MadRock make maternity harnesses, climbing with a bump must be ok and becoming more common. I had visions of me hiding my bump and only climbing when it was really quiet, to avoid people voicing their opinions at me – our climbing hall is full of observing parents who sit watching while their children have lessons. I was worried about an audience of disproving looks. But they don’t climb, they don’t know about the good it does for your mind and body and how addictive it is. I dug a little bit deeper and found this on youtube: a professional climber call Carrie Cooper, who climbed right past her due date. Her relaxed attitude is cool. She has climbed for 10 years and didn’t intend on stopping unless her body said so because she loves everything about it so much. This cemented the idea that I’d be ok. As if this wasn’t inspirational enough, I saw another video shortly after of the same lady going on a climbing trip with another mum. Then I saw a very pregnant climber at my local wall, the only one I’ve ever seen climbing with a bump in the flesh. I took it as a sign. Normal people can do it too. Her husband had her on a tight top rope and she breezed the wall, clearly doing what she has always done. 10736005_10152880498103760_791500471_n A couple of days after getting back from Florida I went climbing. I was feeling lazy. After 2 full weeks off and only doing a couple of sessions prior to this with all the wedding planning getting in the way, motivation was low. So when I struggled to get up the wall and was easily tired I put it down to this. In the following weeks pure exhaustion set in, a constant head ache plagued me and I was finding getting through my working day with my eyes open really hard. Then I found out I was 4 weeks pregnant.

I was 9 weeks pregnant at my hen do:

Maybe the only time you’ll see Taz in a dress:

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I was also really ill from the day after my hen party and this stayed all over Christmas: a flu bug and then continual raging morning sickness to go with it. I was in bed for 5 days solid, completely out of it. The thought of tea and coffee made me feel sick. I don’t know if it was the baby or the cut down from 10 brews a day to none that gave me the first migraines of my life. I have a separate baby blog.

We got married on 29th December, 10 weeks into growing a baby. Our wedding day was beautiful and I don’t think our ceremony could have been any more special. When we get our professional photo’s back, I’ll post a couple. 10906563_10153058270628760_4553543143758460738_n 10952362_10153101469353760_2232238196122654672_n We went away to Scotland for a mini break with the dogs where all I did was blissfully sleep the entire day. 10885377_10152443955326511_4440971759105877937_n I ordered the Mountain Mama from the USA to prepare for my climbing future. For those wondering how much it costs to get it to England, basically it was $120 to buy $20 to post and £25 in taxes at the UK side to pick it up, so it was a £120 investment by the time I got hold of it and it took just over 3 weeks to arrive. A tip from crushcrux though: ask your local wall if they’ll stock a MountainMama that you can rent, if you don’t want one of your own. 10950912_10153092228908760_1276876220_n I had to tell the children’s parents that I look after that I’d be having a year off from 17th July which is the start of the summer holidays. I plan to work every single day. I’m self employed, so if I’m off I’ve got to pay for the cover or organise refunds if I’m off and that’s just not practical when you’ve just paid for a wedding, as reasonably prices as it was. I also have my maternity to save for – you don’t get much being self employed but it’s nice that you can have some time off like most people. The MountainMama harness arrived so I will try this out – my ordinary harness still fits but for catching falls it’s better that it isn’t my waist taking the strain. I am hoping I’m still able to use this in Spring and early Summer when we go camping and and have the opportunity to climb outdoors. 10937435_10153103815143760_1636600530_n I’ll I’ll update the blog soon 🙂 Jemma x