When Amanda Cramb, from Auchterarder, held the positive pregnancy test she didn’t believe it was true.
The 33-year-old had previously been told she’d struggle to conceive. But the second test had the same result.
It took five positive pregnancy tests for the news to finally sink in – she was having a baby.
After the exhilarating discovery, she couldn’t wait for Annie to arrive last September.
However, her labour was traumatic, involving an emergency caesarean section and blood transfusion.
It took her a long time to make a recovery, while Annie started to show signs of being in pain.
“From about two months old, Annie was screaming in excruciating pain from the minute she woke up to the minute she went down at night,” Amanda said.
“We were backwards and forwards to the doctors.
“Eventually they diagnosed her with cow’s milk allergy and on top of that she had silent reflux.
“Meanwhile my recovery was quite slow. Simple things a new mum takes for granted like picking your child up and walking over to their cot I couldn’t do. I relied heavily on my partner.
“Also, Covid restrictions came in about a week after Annie was born, and that was just awful in terms of mental health and well-being.
“Throw in a couple of things like an allergy and reflux, as well as no sleep and recovering myself it was quite a challenge.”
An unexpected maternity leave
Amanda pictured a maternity leave spent socialising with other mums and going to baby classes, but she couldn’t do any of it.
She also struggled to bond with her “little miracle” due to their medical difficulties.
When Annie’s newborn baby photo shoot was cancelled, Amanda decided to do one herself at home on her Perthshire farm.
After a very difficult start as a mum, this moment changed Amanda and Annie’s relationship.
She said: “I’m not afraid to admit it. I don’t think that connection was there because we were fighting.
“The photo shoots have been a way that I’ve been able to connect with my baby to a different level.
“But it’s also been, from the point of view being on maternity leave, being so alone and isolated, it was escapism.
“It was a route for me to channel my feelings and thoughts and put it into something tangible, rather than feeling sorry for yourself because your baby’s missing out and you’re missing out on things as a new mum.”
Annie’s Accessories comes to life
Sharing the photos on Instagram, Amanda received questions about where she had bought Annie’s clothes, accessories and toys.
While pregnant, Amanda spent countless hours online looking for baby accessories.
She realised other parents were also interested in the products she had found.
Amanda said: “This is where Annie’s Accessories was born.
“We had all the time in the world and I’d always wanted to start up a business.
“When I fell pregnant, I was really frustrated when I was searching online because everything was pink or blue and traditional clothing.
“I was also looking for sustainable items, thinking that if I ever have another child I don’t want to buy plastic that’s just going to get thrown away.”
The one-stop shop for baby accessories launched at the end of February.
Amanda has tested every brand on Annie to make sure she is happy with the quality of the products.
Annie’s Accessories stocks everything needed in the stages of a baby’s life, from swaddles to cutlery, and accessories and toys.
As Annie grows older, Amanda hopes to find new products for all the different stages of childhood.
Sister joins the business
While running her new shop, Amanda went back to her part-time job as a HR manager for the Hadden Group in April.
A month later, the shop was so much work that Amanda had to take her sister Lisa on board.
She can now work while seeing both her baby and her shop grow.
In order to keep balancing her roles, Amanda doesn’t see a physical store in Annie’s Accessories future.
She is however hoping to have a few stalls at local markets later this year to show off her products.
She said: “I want to grow our audience and continue being family-run, I don’t want to take that away.
“The main thing in this is that it has been an outlet for me to channel emotions and create a bond with my baby in a different way.
“Normally you would bond in yoga classes or a postpartum class, but this just was a real opportunity for us to connect.”