Saturday, 28 January 2012

Boudoir Bump

Would you be photographed in your underwear? I never thought I would but that is exactly what I did when I was eight months pregnant!
I had been vaguely aware of the company FYEO (For Your Eyes Only) before my pregnancy but it wasn't until I decided I needed a lasting reminder of my bump that I really paid them attention.
I had briefly considered making a plaster cast of my expanding tummy but realised that we didn't really have the space to store or display it so opted instead for an increasingly popular bump photo shoot.

FYEO are a company offering 'Boudoir Photography' - essentially this translates to a photo shoot in your lingerie (or nude for the very brave). They offer a variety of packages e.g. 'Bride', 'Bump', 'Couples'. Needless to say, I opted for  'Boudoir Bump', booked a shoot and then wondered what had possessed me! Now, I'm not the type of person keen to strip off at the drop of a hat, but I felt it was too good an opportunity to pass up. So, despite my apprehension at exposing my three-stone-heavier-than-usual body to a stranger, I decided to shed my inhibitions and enjoy the experience....and enjoy it I did!

On arrival at the Manchester studio I was made to feel at ease instantly. It is decorated in a luxurious style and really sets the mood well. My make up was done ready for the shoot (be warned - the make up is heavy so that it shows up well on camera - I forgot this and left the studio with excessively rouged cheeks, only remembering when I saw my reflection in a shop window...don't make this mistake!!) and I was taken into the studio to change. I had chosen simple black underwear and, as customers are encouraged to bring a 'prop' with them, I had brought one of Mr T's shirts so that he could be included in the photo in some way.
The photographer was very professional and made me feel comfortable throughout, directing me into a series of 'flattering' poses - though some required a degree of flexibility that my bump did not allow for! The photos are taken in a dark room with just one female photographer present, so any self-consciousness soon disappears. In fact, the hour went really quickly and I was surprised how enjoyable it had been. It certainly felt like a real achievement especially as I haven't always felt confident with my body!
About a week after the photos were taken, I was emailed a link to my gallery and could view a selection of pictures. The package I had chosen included one print and it was so difficult making the decision on which image to choose as there were so many I loved. After a lot of deliberation I did choose one and this image is now printed on a canvas and has pride of place at the top of our stairs!

I found this experience to be a massive confidence boost, a great memento of my pregnancy and a really fun day out!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Baby in 3D

During my pregnancy we decided to have a 3D/4D scan (the 4D part refers to a moving image, so the video of the scan as well as the 3D photos - I didn't know this before but am now educated!)
There are loads of places now offering this service and after a bit of shopping around we decided to book an appointment at ScanAssure in Bolton. We chose ScanAssure because they seemed to offer the best value package and they made it really clear what was included so there was no confusion around various bits and pieces needing to be added on to the final price (unlike some other companies I researched!)
On the day of the scan I was both nervous and excited to see a clear image of our baby! The staff were really welcoming and put extra chairs in the scan room for the in-laws who had come along with us. I was really worried we'd accidentally find out the sex of our baby as we had chosen to keep this as a surprise, I needn't have been concerned though as the sonographer checked first whether we knew the sex and told us look away from the monitor while she checked the position of the baby. Our baby decided that they were camera shy though so our first attempt was completely unsuccessful as she kept her face covered by her hand! I tried drinking coke, eating chocolate and running up and down the stairs to get her to change position but she was determined not to move.
 The sonographer was fantastic and really persevered, we were there for about 90 minutes all in all - much longer than our appointment should have been, which we thought was amazing service as we didn't feel rushed at all and were reassured that ScanAssure really wanted us to get the best images possible. Eventually though, we did have to admit defeat and go home and a further appointment was made for two weeks later. When we returned for our second go, Sophia was much more cooperative and we saw some fantastic, detailed images which we loved every second of.

The sonographer explained everything in detail and answered any questions we had. We were given a medical report (as they check everything looks OK with the baby and take measurements etc in much the same way as you would experience at your NHS 12 and 20 weeks scans), a large selection of printed 3D images (around 20 although the package states you should receive 8!), a CD of all the images, a DVD of the scan and last but not least, a gift bag which included a body butter for myself, a teether for baby and a silver photo frame. We chose the Gold package which was £130 although there is a Silver package also available for £80 which doesn't include the DVD, CD Rom or gift bag and offers fewer printed images.
We had our original scan at 27 weeks but the follow up was at 29 weeks and the images were very good so I would consider this an ideal time to have a 3D scan.
If you live locally to ScanAssure I would completely recommend them and if we have another baby I wouldn't hesitate to return here for another scan!