Baby’s Gender: Finding out at 12 weeks pregnant

In a previous post I’ve spoken about the fact we had the NIPT Blood Test at 10 weeks pregnant with BattleKid, but an advantage of having the test done was finding out our baby’s gender at 12 weeks pregnant. Now, in the early days of our relationship my husband and I didn’t want children. However, our minds were changed when my sister-in-law had twin girls. We softened to the idea after meeting them at 6 weeks old but it still took us another 6 years to take the plunge.

When we did become pregnant I was 35 years old and I was all too aware of the risks of being an older first time mum. As a scientist, I read a lot of information about those risks and did worry about potentially having a baby with disabilities, such as Downs Syndrome. At my first antenatal appointment my midwife gave me information about the additional quad tests I could have at around 16 weeks pregnant to screen for things such as Downs Syndrome. I wasn’t offered a nuchal membrane scan (in Wales) and I was worried about having to wait so long for these tests. Even then the statistical result they can give you are very tight with numbers such as 1:100 and 1:200.

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Scan of BattleKid at 10+5 weeks

Then one morning on my way to work I heard an advertisement on the radio for a new blood test for pregnant women that could analyse for trisomy disabilities with statistical numbers of 1:10,000. These numbers stood out for me with my scientific background and I was soon researching this test. As I’ve mentioned I’ve posted about this test before but in summary, it is a blood test that analyses trace amounts of foetal DNA in the mother’s blood. It was only available through two private clinics at the time one of which was in Cardiff, Innermost Secrets, only 5 minutes from where I worked. I rang for more information and discussed it with my husband that night. Despite the expensive price tag we both agreed we wanted to do it. As it is a chromosomal test, it would reveal the baby’s gender and we decided we wanted to know. At just over 10 weeks pregnant I had the blood test, and a scan, and got ready to wait the two weeks for the results to come back. They came back all clear and I had to ask the nurse our baby’s gender as they don’t generally reveal it otherwise.

As mentioned my husband and I had wanted to find out our baby’s gender. We really wanted a girl and neither of us wanted to wait for our 20 week scan if we didn’t have to. I am quite an organised person who doesn’t do well with surprises. Finding out the baby’s gender early, at nearly 12 weeks pregnant, meant I could start planning things like the nursery.

I was told it was a boy, not the girl we had hoped for, and I’ll admit I was a little disappointed. However the fact that our baby was fine in terms of potential trisomy disabilities more than made up for not having a girl. I had also wanted to know our baby’s gender as early as possible in case we weren’t having a girl, to allow me time to come around to the idea of having a boy instead.

I wanted to know so I could plan the nursery, start looking at outfits and think about how our life might look, with a little boy in it. I had to switch from ideas of pink to blue and quickly I got over my disappointment and started envisaging a little boy running around our house.

Finding out our baby’s gender as early as we did meant I had longer to bond with my boy before he was born and it wasn’t long before any lingering thoughts of a girl vanished from my head. I had always wanted to find out the gender of my baby and having the blood test ensured we didn’t need to wait until the 20 week scan nor rely on our baby being in the right position for the sonographer at that scan! And, as the test is a chromosomal test, we came away 100% sure of our baby’s gender so weren’t expecting any surprises at the birth. I’ve heard stories of ladies being told they are having a girl only to deliver a boy. I haven’t heard of it happening the other way around but imagine the surprise of that!

Finding out our baby’s gender was secondary to the main results of the blood test but we were glad we had the opportunity to find out so early on in our pregnancy. We both bonded with our boy sooner and planned things together well ahead of time. Thoughts of pink disappeared to be quickly replaced by a boy running around, with dirt on his face from playing outside with his dogs, and we fell in love with him even more for it. If you asked me now if I could go back and change things I’d say no way! I’d do it all again in the exact same way, boy and all! Our life with our boy is amazing and our house may be messy with cars and bikes everywhere, and it may be a noisy house, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

Songs of my 20’s (97-07)

Following on from the songs of my childhood and teenage years, I am now sharing with you the songs of my 20’s. Again, I had so many to choose from but I think these are the ones that evoke the most memories in me when I think about and look back on my 20’s. They were years of big change from meeting BattleDad, to getting my PhD and following BattleDad to the UK to start a new life together. I could have included a whole album full of dance tracks but decided not to, that a mixture of songs was a better and fairer representation of those wonderful years!

The Prodigy


1 – Hey Boy, Hey Girl – Chemical Brothers

2 – Around the World – Daft Punk

3 – 9PM (till I come) – ATB

4 – Better off Alone – Alice Deejay

5 – My Favourite Game – The Cardigans

6 – Without Me – Eminem

7 – American Idiot – Green Day

8 – Can’t Get You Out of My Head! – Kylie

9 – Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand

10 – Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

11 – Pure Shores – All Saints

12 – It Feels So Good – Sonique

13 – Whenever, Wherever – Shakira

14 – Hung Up – Madonna

15 – Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz

16 – Yeah! – Usher ft. Lil’ John and Ludacris

17 – Maneater – Nelly Furtado

18 – My Love – Justin Timberlake

Around the World by Daft Punk evokes memories of many’s a night in the USI (Union of Students Ireland club on Aston Place in Dublin, if I remember correctly) at the very start of my 20’s. Many of the songs remind me of our days in Shropshire (where we started our UK journey), meeting life long friends and late nights on the pc playing Everquest. The last one reminds me of a very interesting weekend in Leeds to see friends of ours we met playing Everquest! I’ll say no more, they know who they are and they know what I am referring to….

Ty Hafan Rainbow Run Barry

Now that the first Ty Hafan Rainbow Run event in Swansea has taken place it is time for me to remind everyone near Barry, in the Vale of Glamorgan, that you too can take part in a Rainbow Run to support Ty Hafan.

The Barry Rainbow Run is being held on Saturday 7th of May at 1.30pm. It takes place on Barry Island Beach and you can still register to take part (at the time of writing).

For anyone who missed my previous posts or are new to the blog, a Rainbow Run is a fun event being run by Ty Hafan with the sole aim of raising much-needed funds in order to keep the fantastic facilities at the Ty Hafan HQ in Sully in the Vale of Glamorgan and their outreach programmes going for families whose children have life limiting illnesses. Ty Hafan is one of the UK’s leading paediatric palliative care charities and is a charity I am proud to support through my blog. I’ve even been lucky enough to be invited to view their incredible facilities at the hospice in Sully, which you can read all about in my precious moments post.

A Rainbow Run is a 5k fun run, walk, skip or jump during which participants are showered with paint in the colours of the rainbow all while raising money for this most worthy of causes. So Ty Hafan suggest you wear something white to appreciate the full effect of being shower with the colours of the rainbow.Ty Hafan Rainbow Run

Registration is still open for single or group participants and costs £12 per person. Groups of 5 or more people can avail of a group discount which brings the cost down to just £9 per person. Participants should also aim to raise a minimum of £50 in sponsorship.

As mentioned the Barry event is being held on Barry Island Beach. Participants registered for the event can register their attendance from 11.30 at the Rainbow Run Event Village on the Eastern Promenade in the Edwardian shelter near the beach slipway. The run starts at 1.30 and takes between 30 minutes to an hour to complete. The event is open to everyone over the age of 5 but under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult. It’s a great way to support a worthy charity and would be a great family day out.

Ty Hafan have said that while there is parking at the Harbour Road Car Park, a council pay and display car park (bring change in case you are lucky enough to find a space), they suggest both participants and supports should use public transport where possible and have links to information on these on the Barry Rainbow Run website page.

If you are interested in taking part, please visit the registration website for details. Or if you aren’t able to attend there are more events coming up at other locations, details of which you can find in my previous post. I, myself, am taking part in one of the other Ty Hafan Rainbow Run events which I’ll be telling you all about in good time. If you’d like to sponsor me and support a great charity here in South Wales then please visit my JustGiving page where you can find details of the event I’m taking part in and find out how to sponsor me for my race.

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

Traverse 16 – After

As you might have read in my previous post, the weekend of 9th April saw myself, CherrySue and Stone Travel attend Traverse 16 at Cardiff City Stadium. We arrived at about 9.15am in time to register and get a cup of tea before the welcome opening talk.Snapchat-6611367551257295461

This talk was by Tori James, the first Welsh woman to summit Mount Everest and her talk was inspiring. She gave a quick summary of how she got from climbing Snowdon to Everest. She had lots of self-doubt but went for it as it was something she was passionate about. And despite the threat of avalanches and hypothermia she conquered Everest after 2 months. She closed with this quote that all bloggers, not just travel bloggers, should keep in the back of their minds,

“We can all achieve more than we think we can!”

If you’d like to know more about her trip up Everest, her expedition was featured on a BBC Wales documentary and she tweets at @torijtweets.

After the opening talk it was time to attend the first of our talks. Myself and Stone Travel went to the Write Better, Right Now by Abigail King, while CherrySue attended the Understanding the Value of You, the blogger by Tika Larasati.

Abi King blogs at Inside the Travel Lab and has written for the likes of Lonely Planet and National Geographic. She was a bubbly and charismatic presenter whose talk was full of writing hints and tips to create better content. I really hope I can put them to use in future travel posts. We then had a quick break so it was time for another cup of tea (I do love tea) and a quick Snapchat update with the stadium as the backdrop. The venue was really nice. You wouldn’t think a football stadium would be a good venue for a blog conference but it was perfect. The rooms for the main talks were big enough to accommodate the attendees and the refreshment room was large enough to hold all the attendees and the sponsors stands, which included Cathay Pacific, IceLolly and the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism.

Cathay Pacific Stand at Traverse 16
Cathay Pacific Stand at Traverse 16

Next we all went to the industry talk by Julie Falconer called “How brands can work with bloggers on social media”. Julie blogs at A Lady in London and although this was a talk for industry attendees, us bloggers still got some hints and tips about how we the bloggers could work with brands on social media. It gave me, personally, an insight into how brands might work with bloggers on the different platforms and gave me ideas for future pitching to brands. It was a really informative talk from Julie.

Traverse 16
Julie Falconer

Once this talk was over it was time for lunch and the food was very good. We tucked in and relaxed over lunch, while also getting a chance to chat to a few fellow bloggers and also to visit the sponsors stands. Some were giving away goodies and many of them were running competitions on the day. I got a new monkey to add to BattleKid’s collection and a beach towel and ball, which may come in handy on our forthcoming holiday. So even BattleKid got something out of the day apart from quality time with BattleDad.2016-04-09 12.59.48

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2016-04-09 13.33.48

After lunch I really wanted to go to one of the mini sessions entitled “How to pull a PR and get your blog noticed” by Alexandra Delf of Ophir PR and Susan Schwartz who blogs at Best Bits Worldwide. CherrySue and Stone Travel also came along and the small room was jam-packed with bloggers. I even saw a few fellow parent bloggers in there including Jennifer Howze of Brit Mums, whose conference I’m attending in June, solo I might add.

Alexandra and Susan in action!
Alexandra and Susan in action!

It was the best talk of the day for me and great to get both sides of the story; from PR and the blogger. There were great ideas for everyone including getting your media kit together to approaching a PR and also how to behave on Press Trips! It was a really useful talk to go to and it’s no wonder the room was full to capacity. Some people couldn’t even get it.

After this talk we decided to speak to the organisers about our Sunday experience trip, as the girls flight home had changed and we wouldn’t be able to attend the full day out. We enquired whether we could join for the trip to the Big Pit as it is very close to my house and we were only then informed that the underground part of the tour wasn’t going ahead due to strike action. That’s the main part of the Big Pit visit so we decided to cancel our places to free them up for someone else. We felt this should have been pointed out during the opening talk to allow people to choose a different experience if they wanted.

As the final talk we really wanted to go to on the original schedule had been cancelled, we decided to leave early to enjoy some family time with BattleDad and BattleKid at home. And this is where the day turned sour for me. I don’t normally like to write about the bad points of events or days out but one organiser basically interrogated us as to why we were leaving and not staying until the end. Quite frankly it was none of their business. We had thanked them and the other organisers for a great day and commended them on very informative talks, and there we were getting a grilling from someone who earlier in the day had rudely said, for all to hear, to some attendees using the lift to get from floor to floor, “that’s so lazy”. The attendees may have had a medical need to use the lifts and this organisers rude comment to other attendees was completely uncalled for and highly unprofessional.

For me, this one person put a big dampener on my overall experience of Traverse 16. As I’ve said the talks we attended were brilliant, very informative and well presented, and the venue and food was great (apart from having to pay for water and soft drinks). It’s such a shame one persons less than professional behaviour soured our overall experience of Traverse 16. Would I attend another Traverse conference? Maybe.

One thing I can say is that both CherrySue and Stone Travel were very impressed by the organisation of Traverse and how it ran during the day compared to the blog conferences they have attended in Ireland. “World’s apart” were some of the words they used to describe what they thought of Traverse 16.

What I liked about Traverse 16:

  • Good talks, very informative.
  • Great variety of talks and Sunday experiences.
  • Well presented and organised.
  • Good food.
  • Great venue.
  • Fun sponsor stands.
  • Value for money.

What I didn’t like about Traverse 16:

  • Rude comments from one organiser to attendees and their behaviour towards us because we left early.

I’m unsure if I will attend another Traverse conference but suffice to say it has made me look forward to BritMums Live so much more. Roll on June!

Cath x

17/52 My Sunday Photo: 24/04/2016

BattleKid enjoyed another trip to the park this week after nursery and even spotted some “airflanes” in the sky while playing. The park visit gave both BattleKid and I some much-needed fresh air. And it certainly did us some good as he slept through the night for the first time in ages which resulted in a happier mum the next day. I wish we had more days like we did this week!