My birthdays always involve food, family, and friends, and this year was no different.
On Friday, Lauren, Oskar, and I ventured into Birmingham city centre to meet up with Lauren's parents - they had a couple of hours to kill before going for afternoon tea together. As it was a beautiful day we decided to have a stroll around the city centre.
First stop was Birmingham library, where after buying coffees, we ventured up to the roof and sat for a while chatting and enjoying the views. We then walked along the Birmingham canals - being lifelong residents of Birmingham means we take the nicer parts of it for granted occasionally, but sometimes it's fun to be a tourist in your own city! Finally we stopped at a street food market for lunch, as my favourite stall, a vegan burger stall, was trading that day. We had such a lovely afternoon in the early autumn sunshine! A lovely way to begin my birthday weekend.
On Saturday one of my best friends came round to spend some time with us. We had agreed not to buy each other birthday presents this year, but he surprised me not only with the hugest Lush gift box I have ever seen, but also an extra Halloween one!
But, even exciting than half a store worth of Lush, he bought his new 9wk old Husky puppy, whose name I chose! I adore dogs, and had so much fun cuddling this little one!
Sunday was my birthday, and it was so lovely to wake up not only with my wonderful wife, but with my smiling son too. I even had a card and present from him!
After a long lie in (quite different now with a 16 week old baby squealing at you and practising his kicking and grasping), Lauren cooked me the most amazing breakfast of vegan pancakes - blueberry ones, pumpkin ones, and Jam donut ones. They were AMAZING!
And then time to open my cards and presents. I got so many lovely things - clothes, my favourite vegan chocolate, a winter coat, lots of books including the new Harry Potter, coffee and one of the new Starbucks Birmingham mugs (we were in the first couple of people to buy one!). My work colleagues also spoilt me with flowers, a Cath Kidston cup, and a gorgeous bracelet.
I spent the rest of the day relaxing - perfect!
That evening we had booked a table at a cocktail lounge, and Lauren's parents were coming round to look after Oskar for a couple of hours. We are really lucky to have our families so nearby, and were happy in the knowledge Oskar would be happy with his grandparents, as he is extremely used to seeing them due to spending 2-3 days a week with them (and Lauren!). Even so, it was our first time leaving him with someone, so we were glad that if we needed to return home, Lauren's parents hadn't had to drive far! We needn't have worried, as they all had a wonderful time, as did we!
It was lovely to dress up, and have long conversations over a few cocktails. People always joke that the first time out for new parents involves a lot of talk about their baby, but I am pleased to report there was very little talk of our favourite tiny human, we have so much more in common that just being parents!
The following day was a Monday, and I had booked the day off work as holiday. I was so glad, as it was a beautiful warm sunny day, so we decided to take Oskar for his first trip to the beach! It was such an amazing day - we stopped on the way and bought food for a picnic, and to top up Oskar's tummy (and coffee for us!).
It's such a surreal, wonderful feeling to look back on this time last year. Our embryo transfer day is still so clear in our memories and still remains one of our favourite days of all time. 7th October 2015. A beautiful, perfect, crisp autumn day, with soft golden sunshine and glowing leaves on every tree. We went for an acupuncture session, out for breakfast, then drove to the clinic with a playlist of our favourite music. We sat hand in hand in theatre and watched the embryo on the ultrasound screen as it was transferred. Afterwards we went for a gentle walk, full of hope and excitement, that that could have been the day Lauren became pregnant. And it was!
We repeated the same walk this year - with our four month old son!
The magnitude of how our lives have changed since then is amazing - it seems so strange to think there was a day when Oskar wasn't here.
And so my first birthday as a mum was over. At the age of 32, although I've been happy for a long while, I don't think I've ever felt more at peace in my whole life. Settled in a house that we've made our own, in the city I grew up in, with wonderful family and friends, married to my soul mate, in a job I enjoy with colleagues I love, and with a beautiful son. I have always been someone who avoids following the crowd, but as I've got older, this has became even more of a way of life for me! I wouldn't say age always brings wisdom (!) but it has definitely bought me a strong sense of knowing who I am, what makes me happy, and what's important. Cheers to peace and love!