Friday, 31 May 2013

Messy Play - Making Marks!

I can't believe how up and down the weather has been lately; how can this be possible as we are entering into June tomorrow! This week has gone by so incredibly fast, I think because hubbie has been away I have been so busy doing everything on my own; I can't wait for the weekend so I can catch up on some rest!

We haven't had the paint and tuff tray out for a couple of days so decided today was the day to use it and get messy. Ruby and I spent some time over lunch trying to decide what to do; then I remembered that the lovely Jennie from edspire had set a theme for this weeks Messy Play for Matilda Mae. The theme is 'making marks'. There were several things that we could have done to suit this theme, but Ruby decided to go with making marks with her hands and feet!

As a family we owe Jennie a massive thank you, as without her inspiration, this blog would have never have been created, and Ruby and Lottie would not be having as much fun as they are now. On a personal note, I feel I have become a better mother to the girls as I now research and plan our days to make them more fun rather than just putting on a DVD or Cbeebies.

Every time I mention the tuff tray to Ruby, she gets very excited, and today was no exception! She jumped up and down and couldn't wait to get her socks off! Lottie seemed very excited too as she kept crawling into the tray!

Lottie wanted to join in!

Ruby chose which colour paints and paper she wanted; initially I started to paint her feet which she found very amusing, she couldn't stop laughing as she said it was tickling her!

After a while Ruby felt confident painting her own hands and feet and now I don't worry too much about the mess, but not too long ago I would be panicking straight away!

Gaining in confidence and painting her own hand

After Ruby had finished painting, we let the paint dry before we cut around the hand and foot prints and arranged them into the shape of a flower before glueing them onto the card to create a lovely picture.

All cut out!

I think it's safe to say Ruby thoroughly enjoyed painting her feet and hands and the end result was a lot better than I had imagined; Ruby has definitely left foot and hand print marks to form this picture that now has pride of place on the wall.


The finished master piece! 

Thursday, 30 May 2013

HOPE - Emma's Hyperemesis Gravidarum and Pre-eclampsia Story

HOPE - Helping Others and Promoting Education - This is Emma's story -

39 weeks and 4 days being pregnant
35 weeks suffering from Hyperemesis
245 days of vomiting and suffering from nausea
Over 2,200 tablets taken
1 month in hospital
Countless medical tests
1 perfect baby

Hyperemesis completely took over my life and has changed my view on so many things. It is such a debilitating and all consuming condition that robbed me of everything. I was unable to lead any type of life, lost my independence due to needing full time care, was unable to enjoy being pregnant and became dependent on my family and medication to keep me alive. The isolation and misunderstanding of the condition made the vomiting harder to deal with. However, I have an amazing family who got me through the darkest of days and have been given the most perfect baby at the end of it all.

We found out I was pregnant on 26th August at only 4 weeks. Having suffered from morning sickness in my last pregnancy that had unfortunately resulted in a missed miscarriage, I thought I was ready for the sickness. I pre-cooked food, bought the latest expensive sickness bands from America and prepared myself for a few weeks of feeling rubbish. On 1st September the sickness started. At first it was bearable – I could cope with being sick throughout the night and then work throughout the day but gradually the sickness intensified until I wasn’t sleeping and was going off most food. Towards the end of September I visited the doctor who prescribed me my first of many different types of anti sickness medication and diagnosed me with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. However, nothing would touch the sickness.

At the end of the month I was unable to work. By now the sickness would start at 3pm and not stop until 11am the next day. I felt drained from the lack of sleep and unable to move away from the bathroom. However, things only got worse. In those weeks leading up to my first hospital admission I was sick 20-40 times a day. Nothing would stay in me. I would eat an ice cube and seconds later bring it straight up again. Even the mention of food made me vomit. The insomnia, unrelenting sickness throughout the night and my weakening state led to me sleeping downstairs. I was physically unable to climb the stairs and this also gave my husband a chance to get a little bit of sleep himself. The doctors tried other medications but I was unable to keep the tablets in my system.

When I was 11 weeks pregnant I was at breaking point. It was weeks since I had eaten anything substantial and keeping any fluid in me was a constant battle. After talking to a midwife I was introduced to the world of ‘ketones’ – a word that every HG sufferer dreads. Excessive ketones in the urine indicate that the body is not using carbohydrates from food as fuel and is subsequently trying to break down fat as fuel. Having ketones is a sign that the body is beginning to operate in starvation mode. I was severely dehydrated and admitted to hospital where I spent an entire week on a drip.

It took several days to reduce my level of ketones. The hospital was able to control the sickness with higher doses of medication and I managed to keep down small amounts of fluid. However, I only survived a day at home before the sickness was back. I managed to celebrate our first wedding anniversary at home before being admitted back to hospital due to dehydration. By now I had lost two stone. My medication was increased again and Ondansetron was introduced. Ondansetron is usually used for chemotherapy patients and due to its cost is not widely used. I was to take a minimum of 8 different tablets a day throughout my entire pregnancy.

After being discharged with a high dosage of medication the vomiting started to improve. I was still sick frequently throughout the day but I was starting to retain some fluid. However, Hyperemesis never leaves you and even when the sickness was controlled the condition still took over my life. I felt dizzy all the time, was left confined to my couch with no energy and unable to prepare food myself. The nausea was unrelenting and felt worse than the sickness. My sense of smell heightened so much that I could not stand the smell of my own husband and couldn’t go near him without vomiting. All I wanted was to hold my husband, yet hypremesis had robbed me (and him) of that too. The isolation I felt was unbearably hard. I couldn’t go into our kitchen due to the smell and I was unable to walk upstairs or wash myself due to the exhaustion. If I was a few minutes late with my medication I would vomit. I couldn’t cope with noise, light, heat or movement. The only thing I could do was lay still and wait. This state went on for weeks. Christmas came and went but other pregnancy complications started to appear.

I had been having difficulties with shortness of breath from early on in the pregnancy but was the weeks went on things began to worsen. In January I was admitted back to hospital for several tests with the fear I had DVT. I had an echo cardiogram, lung capacity test, lung x-ray, 24 hour ECG and a VQ scan where they injected radioactive material into me. It was at this time I had tests to detect for gestational diabetes, which luckily I was able to control through diet.

The weeks would go by with my family taking it turns to look after me. I had several medical appointments both with my midwife and at hospital. In March I started to have daily Fragmin injections due to my immobility. Due to the sickness (that would keep coming and going but the debilitating nausea never left) I was unable to attend antenatal classes, couldn’t get upstairs to set up the nursery and couldn’t go shopping to buy baby things. Everywhere I went I would have to carry a bag full of drugs along with my sick bowl.

At 37 weeks my blood pressure started to rise and the swelling started to worsen around my ankles. I spent a week alternating between the midwife and hospital for further tests. Finally on 27th April I was admitted for the fourth time with pre-eclampsia. The oedema spread around my entire body turning me into Elephant Mans sister!

After many weeks of myself and my midwife requesting for me to be induced to escape the Hyperemesis I was finally induced on Sunday 29th April. However, my baby decided he liked being in the womb too much and it took until Wednesday until my waters could be broken.

I knew immediately I was in labour at 12am Wednesday as I was sick straight away. Hyperemesis did not want me to have an easy labour! I was taken to the delivery suite at 3am where the sickness worsened despite all my medication. As my stomach was empty I was vomiting blood for several hours. The only pain relief I could have was gas and air which made the sickness worse. I kept losing consciousness in between the vomiting and contractions. The excessive oedema meant I was unable to move around and the pre-eclapsia meant I had to be wired up to a monitor. I also had several different drips going into me. At 11am I was finally given an epidural and for several hours it was the best I had felt all pregnancy – the sickness just stopped.

However, our baby still did not want to make a quick appearance so a syntocinon drip was added. Each time I attempted to move his heart beat would drop significantly and the syntocinon drip had to be started again which lengthened the labour. At around 6pm the pains in my back started to intensify again despite the epidural. I knew things were changing because I vomited again. We discovered the baby was actually ready to come out!

After a relatively short time of pushing our baby started to make an appearance. Due to no parenting classes our midwife had to talk me through each stage and I was learning the breathing techniques as the labour progressed! However, baby’s heart beat started to drop again and suddenly the room was filled with medical staff. I was mostly unaware of everything going on around me but was determined that my baby and I had got this far in the pregnancy I did not want intervention now!

At 19.59 on 2nd May our baby boy was born weighing 7 pounds 1 ounce. I could tell straight away that things were not right as he was not crying and was incredibly floppy. After a few second cuddle he was taken where he needed 5 puffs of oxygen before he would breathe himself. We had a few minutes cuddle before he was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 15 hours.

Unfortunately my epidural had stopped working for the very last stages of labour and it was soon discovered I had a third degree perineal tear that would need surgery. It took three attempts to top up my epidural but on the surgeons table I screamed due to the pain! I was I given general anaesthetic during the operation and woke up three hours later.

Baby Adam was discharged from NICU the next day and was doing extremely well. Unfortunately my oedema worsened and walking became very painful. I had to spend several extra days in hospital as they kept an eye on my kidney function. However, a day before my birthday we were both discharged (although with a catheter still attached).

As soon as Adam was born the vomiting stopped. I no longer felt nauseous and wasn’t reaching for the sick bowl. Today is my first drug free day. The recovery is going to be long but even two weeks after giving birth I feel a different person. Due to being bed ridden for so long my muscles don’t work well and the oedema has worsened the problem. It is wonderful to be able to gulp down water without bringing it straight up again! I still have several food aversions and don’t really feel hungry or have any desire to eat particular foods. I guess some things will take time.

Baby Adam is worth every second of hyperemesis. It is amazing to think he survived such a difficult pregnancy. He is thriving already and gaining weight. I just can’t take my eyes off of him and can’t believe he is here after waiting for so long. I don’t think I will ever get over hypermesis but am so thankful to have a perfectly healthy baby boy.

If you have a story you would like to share; that could help others please do get in touch. I welcome any subject and if required I am happy to post anonymous.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Sleep Over Fun and Day At Nana's!

Hubbie has been working away from home this week and is currently in Scotland visiting some whiskey distilleries.  To be honest I was not looking forward to hubbie being away for 3 days, as I find it can become very lonely and with the weather being poor, we haven't been able to venture out to any parks or do any outdoor activities. Fortunately, my mum took pity on us, and as it is half term she asked if the girls and I would like to go to hers for a sleepover!

We have never been to Nanas for a sleepover before, so Ruby was very excited and was up and about bright and early, bouncing around the house! I decided to give Ruby another early birthday pressie that I had stashed away, a rucksack; she is not going to have much left to open when its her birthday! She was delighted that I had brought her a princess rucksack to pack all her things in for the sleepover.

Ruby was very good at packing her bags and she included her nightie, clean clothes and underwear, a magazine, her nightlight and a toothbrush and toothpaste.

We arrived at Nanas late afternoon and the girls went over to Auntie Kayleighs flat to have a bath before joinng us for dinner. Nana treated us to roast dinner followed by not one, not two, but three puddings! Of course it would have been rude to not eat them all! We even had a huge sponge cake to celebrate the occasion!

Special Cake!

After dinner the girls went to bed; I was a little bit worried about how they would sleep as neither of them have ever slept anywhere else apart from our house, however they were both brilliant and fell asleep quickly.

This morning the girls slept in until 8am, the normal wake up time is closer until 6:30 - 7:00am!

We were treated to a lovely breakfast prepared by Nana. Ruby had her favourite jam on toast and Lottie enjoyed her plain toast, whilst I was treated to scrambled egg on a muffin, yummy! As the weather was really bad and horrible we spent the morning playing inside with the toys. We had to wait until Auntie Tegan and Uncle Harry woke up, and being typical teenagers, they didnt get out of bed until near midday!

Lottie playing indoors.

The rain briefly stopped and we decided to head outdoors, if you haven't already read about Nanas house you can read about what a wonderful place it is in my previous post.

We got wrapped up warm, pulled on our wellies and headed out to help Nana and Auntie Tegan pick up the horses poo. Ruby had great fun finding the poo and telling everyone to come over and clean it up!

Ruby poo picking with Auntie Tegan

We then went and looked at grandads vegetable patch and Ruby was able to tell what all the various vegetables were; she told me that she wanted to make a rhubarb crumble cake with Grandad's rhubarb, like what we had made the other day.

Ruby also enjoyed walking through all the mud and ended up with very dirty wellies that had to be thoroughly washed down!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Ruby's Thoughts!

Hello Phil here (Kimberley's husband).

I just wanted to quickly share something that Ruby said to me when she showed me this picture that she drew at play school:

"I love my Mummy because..."
  • "she knits me cardis, hats and scarfs"
  • "she paints with me"
  • "she takes me to play school"
  • "she feeds Lottie mummy milk"
  • "I just do because she's my mummy"
"I love my mummy, very very much."

How cute is that!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Bank Holiday Monday - Memories

Its been a very hectic few days, hubbie was away attending a wedding in Dorset, leaving me alone with the girls until he returned home on Sunday afternoon. To make up for spending some time away, we decided that today was going to be our family day. It is only recently that we have started to make a habit of spending time together as just the 4 of us, and actually doing something rather than just staying at home. I find that if we stay at home, we don't really do a lot; we all do separate things rather than spending time as a family.

Today we ventured over into Northamptonshire to a place called Coton Manor; there are over 10 acres of beautiful gardens and a massive 5 acre bluebell wood. My mother had recommended Coton Manor to me as she remembers visiting it with her Nana when she was as a child. Next time I might even take my mum with us as Coton Manor is definately a place we will visit again. You can find more details on their website

On arriving at Coton Manor the sun was shinning so brightly, but it was a little bit windy. Ruby was very excited about looking at all the pretty flowers and as soon as we were in the garden, she was walking up sniffing them and saying 'beautiful, they smell so lovely" Everyone near to us who overheard were all smiling at her.

We had a lovely time ventured into all the different sections of the gardens and even came across lots of different animals that were happily walking around the gardens at their leisure.

There were even some flamingos; at first we didn't think they were real so Ruby walked up to one and stroked it before it let out a squawk and ruffled it's feathers, much to our surprise. I have never seen ruby move that fast!


We settled down for a spot of lunch near to the flamingos and it wasn't long before we were being surrounded by various different animals who all wanted to come and taste some of the picnic that I had packed.

Chickens joining us for lunch!

After lunch, we followed a path that led to an amazing sight; bluebell woods! Wow, it was such a wonderful sight, I have never seen so many bluebells. It was just magically, I loved it and it felt like we were in the woods with fairies.

Magical Bluebell Wood

Ruby loved running through the bluebells and Lottie was very happy to sit and feel the bluebells in her fingers whilst posing for some photos.

We had a really lovely time at Coton Manor and its such a shame that the bluebells only last a few weeks; we are definately planning on returning very soon and can't wait until next year when we can go back into the bluebell woods.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

HOPE - Sophie's Hyperemesis Gravidarum Story

HOPE - Helping Others and Promoting Education - This is Sophie's story -

Before I was pregnant I thought I would go on shopping trips with my mum and sister, choosing cute baby clothes. However I couldn't even force my weak body to walk round the block let alone get in a car to look around shops. The reality was I had mainly second hand clothes that kind friends donated and a few bits people bought me new as congratulations gifts, because if I moved I felt sick. Before I was pregnant I thought I would enjoy decorating a new nursery but I couldn't move off the bed let alone open a tin of paint.

Before I was pregnant I thought I would work until I was 36 weeks pregnant to get as much time as possible with my baby. However, I had 4 months off work on sick leave and then went back part time and started maternity leave at 30 weeks because I could not manage nursing my patients any longer. I love my nursing job but I couldn't really care attentively or as patients deserved whilst I was pregnant with hg. I would have had longer off on sick leave but my manager was being a pain about the amount of time I'd already had off. I thought my work colleagues would support me through hg (being doctors and nurses) but how wrong I was! They just didn’t understand the extent of my symptoms and I got the impression they thought I was a drama queen!

Before I was pregnant I thought I would be so relaxed and ‘blooming’ going for coffee (decaf obviously lol!), enjoying spa days and reading my pregnancy magazines. I thought I would enjoy spending time with my other half eating out ‘for two’ and not having a hangover the next day. The reality was that I couldn't stand even the smell of coffee and I couldn't stand pregnancy magazines that made me jealous and envious of people who had lovely happy pregnancies. I didn't worry about not being able to eat brie or pate or homemade mayo because I couldn't even eat a slice of dry bread without throwing up! My other half couldn’t cook in the house because the mere smell of food would result in a vomiting episode and the oven was out of bounds because I couldn’t stand the smell when it was turned on. My other half had to come home from work on his break to check I hadn’t passed out from dehydration. I spent (more like wasted!) my wages on acupuncture sessions and ginger capsules that didn’t work at all.

Before I was pregnant I thought if my other half proposed at some point in our relationship it would be in a romantic setting and I would be overcome with happy emotions. I knew it was on the cards as we had been together for 5 years already. My other half did propose but it was in the harvester car park (less than 5 minutes down the road from our house) because he couldn't get me to go anywhere else!!! Even that was a struggle and when we got inside I had to come out to sit in the car as soon as our food was served because I felt so sick. My other half had cancelled a weekend break to St Ives in a 4-star hotel in exchange for a car park! He had no choice but to propose then as he had bought the ring 3 weeks before and the size could only be changed within 4 weeks so time was running out! I said yes followed by hurling my stomach lining out the car door and crying that I needed him to take me home so I could lie down.

Before I got pregnant I thought I could spend my spare time having fun days out with my other half and my son, Thomas (he just turned 2 years when HG started). HG had other ideas; in fact my HG pregnancy tested my relationship with my partner to the max and it made me feel like I was neglecting my son and as though I couldn't care for him properly. I actually consider myself lucky that my other half and my mother were so supportive during this time to care for Thomas between them as I know there are many people who don’t have help with their other children and have to get on with things as best they can. My sister came over to wash my hair and give me a bath as I could go days on end without washing because moving around during the worst of the HG (between 6 weeks and 23 weeks) was pretty much unbearable most of the day.

Before I was pregnant I thought my true friends who would support me best and be there for me whenever I needed them were the ones I had the longest – I still think this but I now understand that the majority of the population are so uneducated about HG even my best friends. When I had HG it made me question my friendships because I felt like no one remotely understood or tried to genuinely help or even think about what they were saying to me, even my other pregnant friends. I felt like my friends felt sorry for me, expected me to get on with life as it was before pregnant (pretty much impossible for a woman with HG – fact!) and generally thought I was over-reacting. This response from my friends made me wish they would experience a day in the life of me with HG so they could get a taste of what I was really going through! This may come across as cruel but I couldn’t make people understand and I was too tired of trying because I felt so ill so I only had my thoughts going round and round my head whilst I led in bed. I never wished them to actually have HG, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy!

Before I was pregnant I though the NHS was brilliant for the service it provides to pregnant ladies and I had faith in midwives, doctors and the other healthcare professionals. I had such a positive experience with my first born but no HG at all –I could hardly believe how two pregnancies could be so different and how I could be treated so differently. Having HG with my second born (Lydia) made me doubt most things about the NHS system and the so-called healthcare professionals who work in it. These are strong words coming from me as I am a Registered Staff Nurse and I know how difficult it can be working in a hospital for many reasons!

My GP would not prescribe anti-emetics (anti-sickness medication) because he said ‘they are not licensed for prescription during pregnancy’. I then got so dehydrated I was admitted to hospital for IV fluids and IV anti-emetics. The majority of the midwives on the ward I was placed were unattentive and made it clear they were frustrated (the way I which they spoke to me) that I kept calling them to give me medication (despite that being the reason for me being there!) until eventually they kept taking a long period to answer my call bell (effectively ignoring me!). The consultant discharged me with oral ondansetron, metoclopramide and prochlorperazine maleate (stemetil). When the meds ran out I requested a repeat prescription from my GP who came back with the same excuse that these meds were not licensed in pregnancy and he was not prepared to prescribe them. I saw another GP at the practice who also refused me repeat meds and told me to try ginger (ahhhhh!). I then went home defeatist and ended up readmitted into hospital for IV fluids and anti-emetics. The consultant called the GP with some stern words and I eventually got my meds. This was not the end because my GP called me back to lecture me; he told me I had embarrassed his clinical knowledge! I didn’t give a **** what he was saying by this point and I’m being polite because this is a public blog!

All in all the reality of my pregnancy was that I had Hyperemesis and it was bad. I felt worried throughout the pregnancy that my baby would be affected negatively in some way. I was taking a concoction of anti-sickness medications, I was dehydrated and I couldn’t stomach my prenatal essential vitamins.

I felt abandoned by the medical profession that I though I could rely on and by my closest friends. I felt scared that no one would help me and that I only had a pregnancy support group to guide me. You were all amazing and I doubt I could have got through it without you all but the whole experience left me isolated and frightened.

I considered terminating my pregnancy at various times throughout and I resented my baby for the horrendous way I felt thinking I would not bond well with her. This now leaves me feeling guilty when I look at my healthy, beautiful baby girl. It turned out that I did bond well with her, even better than my first born. Luckily for me HG didn’t affect how much my baby means to me; I don’t love her any less, my love for her is immense and she is all the more precious because of what I went through to have her. Days of nausea and vomiting, days of lying in bed or on my sofa with my thoughts or willing, begging for the sickness to go away – each day a step closer to being with my daughter.

2012 was what I would describe as the worst year of my life; some parts are a blurry haze and some parts are as clear as two hours ago. Unfortunately, most of the good parts are hazy and the horrid HG parts still seem somewhat clear as day. I still have psychological effects left from having HG (as I think most sufferers do individually to them and their experience). I still gag when I brush my teeth, the thought of being sick has turned into a phobia and I now have a dislike for the warm weather/summer months because it brings back fresh memories and opens still raw wounds of what I went through last year. I wanted a big family and I know I am lucky I have two children but I can never bring myself to go through pregnancy again……ever.

It was really challenging to write this post because it made me feel very nauseous and my stomach is still churning. However, it has also been really empowering and a bit of the weight has been lifted emotionally. It has helped me to express myself and say things that have needed to be said aloud for what I feel has been inside of me for a long time.

Before I was pregnant, I never knew HG existed. I was as uneducated as the rest of the population!

I’ve come to realise the importance of raising awareness of HG and hope to raise some money for the charity that is so greatly needed for research into HG and to make people aware how serious this condition is.

If you have a story you would like to share; that could help others please do get in touch. I welcome any subject and if required I am happy to post anonymous. 

Friday, 24 May 2013

Bad Mummy Today?

Today I have not really felt like doing anything, the weather has put a dampen on all the things I had planned and I have started to get a cold. At times today I have felt like a bad mummy.

Am I a bad mummy because I put the girls in front of the TV,
But then I browse the net?
Am I a bad mummy because I let my daughter cry,
But then I can't hold her all day?
Am I a bad mummy because I did not play with her?

Am I a bad mummy because I hid the biscuits from the girls,
But then ate them in a different room?
Am I a bad mummy because I want a hot drink,
But then I can't drink it in peace?
Am I a bad mummy because I want quiet?

Am I a bad mummy because I want me time,
But then I miss my babies?
Am I am bad mummy because I want to do something for me,
But then will I not get time with the girls?
Am I then, a bad mummy?

No I am not.
I know I am a good mummy,
But I need to find me.
I am not just a mummy,
I am also me!

Can anyone relate to this?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Messy Play - Gloop!

Today has been the 1st day since Sunday, that I have started to feel a better after coming down with mastitis.

We haven't done any really messy play for a little while, so I decided to try something new and give gloop a go!

Gloop is so simple and easy to make; it is made up of one part water to two parts of cornflour, with a dash of food colouring to make it a bit more fun! Gloop has a very strange texture, one minute it can be really runny and and the next solid.

I was unsure of what Ruby would think of gloop as she was not a very big fan of moon sand. When I told her I was making something to go in the tuff tray, she got very excited and collected some things to be used with the gloop. As you can see from the photos she picked everything around baking!

Ruby was initially very weary of the gloop and started off by moving it between bowls and stirring it with a spoon and later a whisk.

After a while I encouraged her to touch it and tell me what it felt like; she replied "Mummy it feels like slime, monster slime, would you like some monster slime for your breakfast?" We then played pretend breakfast and took turns serving one another.

Gloop for Breakfast!

I then pretend to be a monster and took the gloop out of the bowl with my hands and showed Ruby that when I picked it up it was all hard, before eventually turning into liquid and running back into the bowl. Ruby was amazed; gaining in confidence, she had a go too, loving it she started laughing. What followed was lots of and lots of fun.

It wouldn't have been true messy play if Ruby didn't decide that she wanted to stand in the gloop!

Feet in Gloop!

I was a little bit nervous about gloop as I was not sure how much mess there would be, but to be honest there really is not that much; gloop turns solid very quickly when not played with and its easy to pick up. On Ruby's request we have put the gloop into a plastic container so that we can re-use it. I think its easy to say gloop has been a massive success!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

H.O.P.E: Helping Others & Promoting Education

I have always had a passion for helping others and working with charities; I have recently started volunteering with Pregnancy Sickness Support; you can find out more about the volunteer work here.

Following on from the articles that I have recently written on Hyperemesis Gravadirum, it became clear that there were a lot of people who wanted to share their stories in the hope of raising awareness and helping others; then the idea dawned on me..... why don't I have a section on my blog dedicated to raising awareness of Hyperemesis and in the process, allow other Hyperemsis sufferers to share their stories! Then as if by magic, I call God given, I came up with the name H.O.P.E; this stands for Helping Others and Promoting Education!

I hope in time that this section of my blog will be a way of helping women who have experienced Hyperemesis to write down their stories and hopefully gain some release as well as bringing much needed awareness.

Over time I would like to expand my H.O.P.E concept to cover not just Hyperemesis, but any issues that may relate to someone during pregnancy, labour, parenting or general health. I hope charities will link up with me so together we can raise awareness where it is needed and educate people in the process. So what do you think? Do you have a story to share that could give hope to someone else? If so please get in touch. You can tell your story anonymously if you want to.

Click here to find H.O.P.E

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A Day of Playing and Baking!

Since starting the blog, I have become a lot more confident as a mother and am now far more creative and involved when it comes to playtime with the girls.

Yesterday I was really not feeling at my best and all I wanted to do was be tucked up in bed, however there is no off switch or pause button when you are a parent, and I like most mothers find it very difficult and testing to look after children whilst being poorly. 

Before having children, if I was unwell I would be able to take the day off work and just think about me, but obviously now I can't do that. 

We had an enjoyable day yesterday despite me being ill; I didn't have anything planned, so let Ruby take charge of what she wanted to do; unfortunately the weather was not very kind to us, so to Rubys disappointment outdoor play was out of the question. 

I have always enjoyed baking cakes, and when hubbie came home from work with a bug bag of rhubarb, which so happens to be one of my favourite things to eat, I asked Ruby if she would like to help me to try out a new cake recipe with me; and of course I didn't have to ask twice! After looking at various recipes on-line together, we found this one and decided to give it a go! 

As you can see from the photos, Ruby really enjoyed helping me. 

Mummy and daughter baking time!

The end result was amazing and tasted soooo good! Throughout the rest of the day, 
Ruby kept asking for more and more! It was definitely a big hit! 

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

After baking, Ruby then enjoyed some time painting and mixing different colours together to find out what colours she could make. Lottie slept the whole time Ruby was painting; I still love staring at my daughters whilst they are fast asleep, there's something very special and magical about watching them; I think I could do it all day if I could (and if they would nap more often!). Since the reflux, it is a challenge to get Lottie to nap; I can't remember the last time Ruby took a nap during the day. 

Busy Painting

I could stare all day at Lottie asleep!

By the time Ruby had finished painting, Lottie was stirring from her nap so we tidied 

up and sat down to eat our lunch. After lunch Ruby set up a tea party in the playroom and Lottie and I were both welcomed as guests. Ruby loves imaginary play, and enjoys Lottie being involved, although much to Ruby's annoyance, Lottie just tries to grab everything in reach and doesn't know how to play nicely! 

Lottie makes a mess!

I am really looking forward to the girls beginning to play and interact more with each 

other as they get older. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Milk Bank!

Prior to having Ruby, I was very adamant that I would not be breastfeeding her; some people did not agree with my choice, but at the end of the day it was my choice to make. At some point I shall go into greater detail about why I made the choices I did. However when it came to having Lottie, I was a bit more open minded. We initially tried breastfeeding, but I found it really tough and needed a break, so decided to express; this was great as it meant that Lottie could still have my milk whilst I got my head around breastfeeding. After a week or two of expressing, I started to feed Lottie myself and have never looked back.

Lottie's Stash of Milk! 

Yesterday was world breast milk donation day; it got me thinking about how following Lottie's birth, I decided to look into donating some of my surplus milk to a local hospital; to my disappointment I found out that they do not accept donor milk; not put off by this, I spoke with UKAMB, (an organisation that works for the provision of safe, screened donor breast milk) , who put me in touch with the nearest hospital that was geared up to accept and process donor breast milk. The hospital was over 50 miles away! I rang the hospital and spoke with them in depth about what I would needed to do in terms of hygiene, sterilising pumps, quantity of milk required etc. After filling out the necessary forms, it was apparent that it was not possible for me to donate as I lived outside of their area; their remit was within a radius of 40 miles of their hospital. I was really disappointed as it was something I really wanted to do. There is a real need for breast milk donors, but not enough money or facilities to process the donor milk.

UKAMB have made the following video, which shows the journey of how milk gets from the donor to the recipient:

Breast milk is especially important to babies in neonatal intensive care or special care. Here are some facts about Donor Breast Milk from UKAMB's website:

  • Donor breast milk is the next best thing to a mother’s own breast milk if she is unable to feed her baby for whatever reason, or if her baby requires additional milk for a time. 
  • Donor breast milk has benefits over formula because it contains a variety of protective factors which help protect a sick premature baby from infection. These small babies are very prone to catch to infections and they need all the help they can get. These protective factors, such as immunoglobulins, are not present in formula prepared from cow’s milk.
  • Not only does donor breast milk protect from infection but it also has a protective role against the syndrome called necrotising enterocolitis.
  • A preterm baby’s gut is very delicate and absorbs breastmilk more easily than formula milk because the balance of proteins is different. A sick baby needs to be fed very gently and very small amounts of breast milk gradually acclimatise the gut to food. This is especially true for babies who have had gut surgery when their gut needs to be introduced to food very gradually.

Donor Breast milk is not just exclusively used for premature babies, it also is used for babies who have had gut surgery, cows milk intolerances and many more.

I still wish I could have had the opportunity to donate breast milk and if I were to have another baby and a milk bank opens up near me, I will almost certainly donate. Its only since Lottie's birth that I have really come to know how precious breast milk is and understand why people call it liquid gold. I am so incredibly proud of what Lottie and I have achieved, but understand that for some people, myself included when I had Ruby, breastfeeding does not come naturally and may not be possible at all for a number of reasons.

If you would like further information about milk banks please see the following website.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Daddy to the Rescue!

Today has not been a good day for me; over the last couple of days, I have noticed that one of my breasts has become slightly tender, I assumed that I had a plugged duct and that things would work themselves out. Well, last night was horrendous! Things have escalated and I have been in tears due to the pain. I went to see the doctor this morning who confirmed my worst fears, I have Mastitis!

Its not the first time that I have mastitis, I had it when Lottie was younger and once with Ruby. For those of you that don't know, mastitis causes nasty flu like symptoms as well as almost unbearable pain once it sets in. I feel absolutely washed out and my legs are causing me so much pain and discomfort every time I try to move. After doing some research, I think that I have come down with mastitis because Lottie has just cut her first teeth and this has altered her latch when feeding. This is definitely one of the lows of breastfeeding but I will get through it and carry on feeding her.

With me being poorly, it was hubbie to the rescue; I am so grateful I started feeling like this on a weekend when he was not at work. Hubbie is a very hands on dad and is absolutely amazing at looking after the girls. We've always worked as a team when it comes to bringing up the girls; in the mornings, he will dress the girls whilst I make the beds, and prep breakfast and lunch for everyone.

I have spent the whole of today in bed, which is something that I usually hate as I am normally really active and just want to get on; but this time I was in so much pain, I knew it was the best option for me.

The girls have had a lovely time with hubbie today; after the normal ballet and swimming lessons, they got stuck into some messy play!. Hubbie has really got into messy play and today he set up the tray with ice cubes and marbles. This is the quickest and easiest messy play to set up, but Ruby loved it.

Ice cube bowling

As usual, Ruby wanted to go into the tray so she took off her clothes and put on her swimming costume. Initially Ruby just started off by moving the ice around in the tray, and then decided to make cakes; she placed marbles on top of the ice cubes and said they were cherries.

Cakes with cherries

Hubbie then helped Ruby made a pyramid of ice cubes and the marbles were used as bowling balls. Ruby really enjoyed knocking down he tower, which was repeated several times. Finally, hubby put the tray on a slight tilt and showed Ruby how to spin the marbles around the edge of the tray; he set up a goal out of ice cubes and got ruby to try to score by getting the marbles to spin round the edge of the tray and end up in the goal.

Bathing the animals

Lottie even enjoyed playing too!

Before we packed the tray up, Ruby decided to bath her animals. The girls had a lovely day with hubbie and I am so grateful for the time to rest and start to recuperate. Hubbie is just about to cook a cumberland pie with veg; I am so looking forward to this as I have barely eaten all day!