Saturday 29 June 2013

HOPE - Alisa's - Hyperemesis Gravidarum Story

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

I consider myself lucky. I think my Hyperemesis Gravidarum is pretty mild by comparison. I’ll describe something of my experiences and perhaps, by understanding what mild HG is like and the fact that I feel lucky, I will help highlight the plight of the women who have it so much worse than me…
I consider myself a toughie. I come from tough stock. I’m the one who goes to work sick and just gets on with it. I’m the one is always being reprimanded by friends and doctors for not taking a break, pushing myself too hard. Pills are for wimps, I just cope with pain because I’m me and that’s how determined I am. I can take it, I say, I’m tough.
Not so tough now though. Not so tough after six, seven, eight days of throwing up almost everything I’m brave enough to try to eat. Not so tough after two, three, four weeks of vomiting four or five times a day. No. Now, I can’t walk without help. My wasted legs just wobble like a newborn lamb and my pounding dehydrated head throws the room in all directions. Where is the floor again? Lucky I’m too dehydrated to need the loo more than once a day because the 15 foot walk is long and arduous and even with support I manage to fall or pass out on the way on several occasions.
But it’s just morning sickness, right? Women work through that all the time. They push themselves. Can’t you push yourself? Can I push myself today? Today, my head won’t lift off the pillow and the room is fading in and out. I’m not really sure if I’m conscious or not. There is only so long we can function with constant vomiting. The pills the hospital gave me don’t work. I need something stronger before this thing beats me completely.
My friend calls the GP who asks to speak to me – I’m slurring my words a lot. Talking is SO difficult now. I tell the GP I’d like metoclopramide as I’ve had hyperemesis for four weeks and I’m still vomiting several times a day. “We don’t like to prescribe in pregnancy” she says sternly, “What makes you think you still need medicine? Are you struggling at work at times?”. Pause – a medical professional knows I’ve barely held fluids in for a period of four weeks and she thinks I am working? This is what we are up against. “I don’t work anymore. I am bed bound. I haven’t been able to walk for a few weeks now” I mutter. “Why’s that?” she replies, mystified. Pause – do I need to say anything? I don’t think so.
HG week five: on the new drug and things are looking up. I see myself in a mirror. At ten weeks of pregnancy, with five weeks of vomiting tucked under my belt, my face is a grey white shade I have never seen before. I look like a doctored photograph of myself. My lips, frighteningly, are a brighter white, paler than my face. My eyes are filled with blood – each vomit is so violent, I rupture little vessels in my eyes and now the whites look like pools of red in patches. All in all, I look like I’ve been in intensive make up for a horror film. Well, it’s effective: I’m spooked.
“Please get up” urges my anxious mother, “Just try”. I argue all morning and all afternoon. I just don’t feel able. I think it’s a bad idea. I just need to lie still and not be sick. Three pm I can’t take any more pressure and I’ve only been sick once, so I try. She takes me downstairs to the garden and gives me a lolly so I can hold down some fluid. I throw it up. She gives me some food. I throw it up. Then again. The fourth time is so violent I start throwing up blood, rupture vessels in my nose and pee myself. I lie in my own urine on the toilet floor with blood in the bowl and decide I’ve reached the lowest point of my life. I lie there crying, too weak to shout for help, till someone finds me and helps me out. I turn to my mother – are you satisfied now? Is this what you wanted? My mum’s crying – it’s so hard on all of us. It’s so unfair.
I’m now 14 weeks and on my third anti-emetic – the daddy of anti-emetics this time. In the last four weeks, I have improved beyond recognition. I still vomit, but no more than two or three times on a bad day. I can walk around unaided and have ventured out of the house. Only once, but it felt good. I’m up to phone calls and a little light work on my laptop. I still feel constant nausea but I can live with that, just about, though I do wish it would stop.
Like many HG women, I still cannot tolerate many different foods and rarely feel able to drink. Facing a glass of water is like looking at a glass of green toxic goop you’ve just been told to drink. I don’t think so!! I live on instant noodles as these seem to stay down plus they bring the bonus gift of hidden fluid with them. Recently, I’ve hankered after some variety. I’m a bit of a foodie when not pregnant, so this bizarre diet is quite a paradigm shift for me. Last night I tried to eat something new, but it didn’t stay in. Hey ho. Hard to complain when I can walk around unaided and eat and generally function a little. I’m still not strong enough for the office, but that’s a hurdle for another day.
Like I said, I’m one of the lucky ones. My HG is pretty mild.

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 28 June 2013

The Small Things in Life: Like a Trip to the Park!

We have been pretty much housebound this week as we have all been suffering from colds and hayfever; but Ruby in particular has been hit badly. She was absolutely fine on Monday, but come Tuesday evening she was complaining of being unwell, anyone who knows Ruby knows that she is normally full of beans and never complains. Wednesday morning she was looking very pale and was running a temperature so the day was spent pretty much lying on the sofa and watching Cbeebies.

Poorly Ruby

I start to suffer cabin fever if we are in the house for too many days on the trot, so yesterday we headed off to the park in order to get some fresh air and for a change of scenery.

Ruby chose to ride her balance bike to the park, for anyone who is unaware, a balance bike is a bike without any pedals; it was designed for children to learn to balance without having to worry about learning to pedal. The aim is that after learning to balance, they could move straight onto a regular bike without stabilisers. Ruby loves her balance bike and is always zooming here and there.

Ruby is a real thrill seeker and loves to be pushed really high on the swings, I do worry one day she will let go!

It would also seem that Lottie is following in her sisters footsteps, as she too loves the swings and when I go to push her she squeals in delight and starts laughing!

Ruby enjoyed playing on all the climbing frames and I can't believe how confident she has become.

We had a really lovely time at the park as you can see from the photos it was just what we all needed.

Just before we left to come home the heavens opened and it started to rain, so Ruby took shelter under the climbing frame!

It did me the world of good to enjoy some fresh air and Ruby enjoyed it too, however she is still not well, as she fell asleep as soon as we got back from the park. I am hoping she picks up really soon as we have a packed weekend with swimming and ballet lessons.

Just a little trip to the park this week has given us so much pleasure, what little pleasures have you enjoyed this week?

Don't forget I'm running a giveaway at the moment where you could win a Breastvest, more details can be found here. If you have not read my breastfeeding journey then I would highly recommend you do as it contains both the highs and lows of breastfeeding and you can read it here.

Thursday 27 June 2013

Breastfeeding: My Experience, Good & Bad!

As this is breastfeeding awareness week, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to share my own experience, including good & bad experiences, formula feeding and the vast amount of emotions and tears that have been shed along my journey.

Breastfeeding Lottie
Before falling pregnant with my first daughter Ruby, I was never really aware about breastfeeding until my midwife talked to me about it at an antenatal appointment. I had never seen anyone breastfeed a baby and to be honest, the thought of having a baby attached to me made me feel a bit sick. Looking back I now realise that I was lacking in body confidence and I had been surrounded by friends and family who all bottle-fed; so I saw breastfeeding as abnormal.

The midwives that I saw antenatally, tried to offer me some advice on breastfeeding and I firmly refused it; breastfeeding was something I was not going to do! I remember attending a private antenatal class and the teacher was horrified that I wanted to talk about safe bottle feeding and sterilising etc; I felt like I was a bad mummy, I was made to feel really small.

The NHS antenatal class was a bit better, I was not pushed into the corner and made to feel small, but I was only given a leaflet explaining everything; I still do not think this is good enough! There is so much emphasis being placed on breastfeeding. It is an individual choice for each mother, so why are the health care professionals only giving out advice on one side? or if they do, its only a leaflet; whereas they seem to be able to talk about breastfeeding non stop... and don't get me started on the whole breast is best slogan as that really bugs me too as I believe that happy mum equals a happy baby; sometimes breast isn't for the best which certainly was the case when I had Ruby.

I had planned to give birth to Ruby in the local midwife led unit, however when I went there shortly after my waters went, they said I should go home as I was only in early labour! As it turns out I was not, I was just very relaxed and chilled out! Ruby was ultimately born at the hospital and I don't really have anything bad to say about the time I spent in there; however I knew that as soon as I was up, showered, dressed and had something to eat, as long as Ruby had, had a feed, I could go home; so that is what I did. I was happy with the decision that I made to bottle feed Ruby, right up until my milk came in around day 3 or 4 where filled with emotions, I tried to breastfeed her. With so little information and a very hungry and unsettled Ruby, things did not really work out. I did have a fantastic midwife who tried to help me to get Ruby to latch on and she did do this a few times but I hated it, it made me feel so uncomfortable and yucky. However I did realise the benefit of breast milk, so I started to express milk and put it into a bottle; this was a very good compromise as I didn't feel my body was being invaded and Ruby was still receiving breast milk. As I was a first time mother of a newborn baby, I was not as prepared as well as I thought I was for the challenges and emotions it would bring. There was so much to learn and it was such a big steep learning curve. I was so tired and drained and could not sustain expressing and feeding Ruby, so I switched back to formula. Ruby changed and so did I when she started on formula, she was more content, we were able to establish a routine and I felt more relaxed; yes I do still look back and wish I had breastfed her more but I can't change the past and it was the right thing for us at the time.

Fast forward 3 years and I am pregnant with Lottie; to be honest I approached breastfeeding much the same way as I did with Ruby, I did not want to do it, firstly based on my experience with Ruby and then also my body confidence issues. Lottie was a planned home-birth; I really had to fight for a home-birth because my midwife wanted my iron levels to be at a certain level; I had read the latest NICE guidelines and knew what my rights were;  my iron at the time was over their guidelines, so I was prepared to challenge and fight for a home-birth. I knew that I might need to be transferred to hospital in case something were to happen to me or Lottie, but I was prepared for this. I had only left Ruby for one night by that point, and that was when I was in hospital suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. I did not want to be away from her or my home comforts. I am still amazed nearly a year on that I had such an amazing experience and gave birth to Lottie at home; I think I will be buzzing off it for some time, it really was the most amazing thing I have ever done and you can read more about it here.

After Lottie was born, I started off by bottle feeding her, however by day three I was filled with emotions again, much the same as I was after Ruby's birth; I rang up a lovely lady from La Leche League and cried down the phone explaining what was going on. I offloaded all of my concerns and she was so helpful and non-judgemental, so I decided to try and breastfeed Lottie; she actually latched! I could not believe it! I was still quite wary of my body confidence and really was not sure what to do, so I decided to give her expressed breast milk for some feeds and breastfeed for some of the other feeds. I took the lead and made the decision to feed her by whatever method felt best, as and when she needed feeling. I knew that if I was stressed about feeding her, it would make her wound up and it would be a vicious cycle. If I'm being honest, the main reason I became more determined to give breast milk to Lottie was purely a finance one, I was aware that formula did not come cheap and if I could express enough milk, then less formula would mean more money to buy nice girlie clothes! However over the coming weeks something changed. I can't remember when, but she was no longer having breast milk in a bottle but taking it directly from me!

Breastfeeding Lottie has not been an easy journey, we have come up against so many barriers and I have been unfortunate to suffer with mastitis twice; but we have overcome it all! I have been more informed this time and have had someone who has supported me and given me the confidence to carry on. At around 7 weeks, Lottie was diagnosed with reflux; I can honestly say that this was a really hard time, one of the hardest parenting challenges I have ever had to deal with. I had a baby that screamed all day, yes you read that right, all day! I still don't think people believed me that it really was the bad; there was no let up. I still do not know to this day how I coped, but I fought with all my strength to get her onto the right treatment and did not back down until her reflux was under control. I even had to go dairy free for two weeks to check that Lottie did not have a cows milk protein intolerance; this was incredibly hard for me to do and my family were concerned that I would waste away!

I have overcome all the hurdles, well Lottie and I have; I feel we have worked as a team and achieved it together. I can honestly say that breastfeeding has increased my body confidence and I am incredibly proud that 11 months on, Lottie is still being breastfed; granted its now only a few times a day, but I do miss the frequency of feeds and snuggles. I feel that I have bonded with Lottie in a different way to Ruby, I feel a lot more in tune with her and she feels more connected to me. For anyone reading this, I would just say what I have said before, that I strongly believe that a happy mum equals a happy baby and if you did not succeed at breastfeeding first time round and are now looking to do again, then try it, you might find that all goes well. However if breastfeeding is not for you, it does not make you a bad mother! As long as both you and your baby are happy and loved then that is all that matters.

I never thought I would say this but I can honestly say I have enjoyed it and I will definitely feel sad when Lottie will no longer want her mummy milk.

Don't forget I'm running a giveaway at the moment where you could win a Breastvest, more details can be found here.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Breastfeeding – Tips to help new mothers

Today's blog post comes from Anna, a good friend of mine who works at La Leche. As far I am concerned Anna is my go to person for anything breastfeeding related and she has helped me tremendously whilst dealing with my own personal challenges during my breastfeeding journey. I asked Anna if she would share some tips and advice to any new mum who is considering breastfeeding her baby.

Many pregnant women are bombarded with information about breastfeeding, so much so that they can end up feeling anxious, worried and doubtful that they will be able to breastfeed their baby. Here are a few basic tips to help new mothers as they and their babies learn to breastfeed.

  • Going along to a breastfeeding support group before the birth can be a great help. It gives women a chance to talk to breastfeeding mothers about how they overcame any problems. If difficulties do arise after the birth the new mothers already have some knowledge and know they have someone they can call. Women do not always get enough time with healthcare professionals and if not redressed small initial problems can get worse and a new mother starts to doubt her ability to breastfeed. It’s at this time that mother-to-mother help from a breastfeeding supporter can make all the difference. 

  • Breastfeeding is a learning curve, mother and baby need to get to know each other and what is normal for them. Many women worry they are doing something wrong because their baby does not behave in the way they expected. Rules and regulations have no place in learning to breastfeed and can inhibit a mother from doing what feels right. What works for one mother and baby may not be right for another, and can even vary from feed to feed. A good suggestion is to check your baby’s lower jaw has plenty of room to move, his chin can sink into your breast and his head is tipped back a bit so he can open his mouth wide. Milk is mostly in the ducts in your breast so the baby needs a good big mouthful of breast beyond the nipple; this makes it comfortable. Some women like to support their breast when nursing, but try to keep the “lower jaw fingers” out baby’s way. Aim the nipple towards the back of the roof of baby’s mouth. 

  • If a baby has not been too disturbed by birth interventions s/he may find the best position by her/himself. This will vary according to the baby’s own mouth shape and the mother’s breast, nipple and areola shape and size. It helps to breastfeed as soon as possible but sleepy babies may need some encouragement. If you become concerned he is not latching on ask about expressing your milk until he gets the hang of it to stimulate your supply. Give via a spoon, cup or syringe, but still offer the breast. 

  • Babies have very small stomachs. A one day old baby’s stomach capacity is about 5-7 ml or about the size of a small marble and it does not stretch to hold much more. Colostrum, the milk produced in the first few days after birth, is just the right amount for a baby’s first feedings. It contains especially high concentrations of antibodies to help a baby’s immune system mature after birth. By day 3 a baby’s stomach is about 22-27 ml or the size of a shooter marble. Small frequent feedings ensure that your baby takes in all the milk he needs and help to make the transition from being drip-fed nonstop via the umbilical cord, to gradually have more separated, bigger feeds. Small frequent feeds also help to prevent engorgement as your breasts swell and enlarge when your milk comes in. Engorgement decreases as a woman’s body adjusts but gentle massage or applying moist warmth will help if the baby is struggling to latch on. 

  • The more you feed the more milk you produce. Breastmilk is a drink too. Even if your breasts feel empty there’s always some milk there and frequent feeding increases milk production. Babies nurse for comfort as well as food. Night feeds are important as they help to establish and maintain your supply and avoid engorgement. Wet and dirty nappies are a good indicator of how much milk your baby is taking, and weight gain should always be measured from the lowest weight. Once at home it takes time for you and your baby to get to know each other. Breastmilk is not just about getting food into a baby, it is part of the mothering package. The early days of breastfeeding can be intensive and challenging but as babies and mothers learn and grow together breastfeeding usually becomes a very enjoyable and important part of mothering for both. 

For more detailed support go to

Don't forget I'm running a giveaway at the moment where you could win a Breastvest, more details can be found here.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Messy Play - Chocolate Playdough!

Ruby has really started to enjoy messy play; this week she has been enjoying playing with playdough... not just any old playdough, but home-made, pink, chocolate scented playdough!

I remember playing with playdough as a child, and I distinctly remember the yucky smell it has; I decided to try and make our own, and I pleased to say it was fairly straight forwarded and worked out really well. 

Ruby and I made it together; we started off by pouring one cup of warm water into a mixing bowl, followed by half  teaspoon of oil and some hot chocolate drinking powder.

We mixed it all together in one bowl, and added one cup of plain flour and half a cup of salt to a separate bowl before we then mixed the contents of the two bowls together.

Finally we kneaded the dough until it formed a giant squidgey dough ball. We repeated exactly the same steps to make the pink playdough.

Then the fun began! Ruby started off with playing with her hands.

However it was not long until she decided that she wanted to put her feet into the dough, jumping on it and making footprints!

Ruby even persuaded me to try and make footprints!

After about an hour of play, Ruby decided that she had, had enough; she was covered in playdough, so I decided that the best thing was to get her washed in the kitchen sink.

She loved playing with the bubble and even got into the washing bowl! 

I think its safe to say that home-made playdough has been a real hit! We shall certainly be doing this again! 

Don't forget I'm running a giveaway at the moment where you could win a Breastvest, more details can be found here.

Monday 24 June 2013

Breastfeeding Awareness Week - Giveaway

Today marks the start of breastfeeding awareness week; I want to first start of by saying that, from  my own personal experience I understand both points of view on breast feeding. My first daughter Ruby was formula fed and my second daughter Lottie is still being breastfed at 11 months old. I do not want to cause a debate over breast vs formula milk as I truly believe that how you chose to feed your baby is a very personal choice that takes into account a lot of different factors; I am very much of the opinion that a happy mum equals a happy baby regardless of what milk they are on.

I have been very generously offered a Breastvest to give away to one lucky reader; the winner gets to chose if they would like it in black or white.
"Breastvest is an ingenious breastfeeding accessory that can turn any top into a breastfeeding top! Not only is this product perfect for breastfeeding mums who want to keep their post natal tummy covered whilst breastfeeding in public, it means mums can get straight back into their favourite outfits without having to spend lots of money on nursing tops!"              
All you need to do to enter is describe your thoughts on breastfeeding, using only three words! Please leave your three words in the comments section of this blog post and be sure to fill your details into the Rafflecopter widget; Each additional step you complete is another entry into the raffle. Terms and Conditions are also on there and the final closing date is Midnight on Saturday 30th June 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There are a number of give-aways being offered as part of this campaign, for a chance to win more goodies, please checkout the following sites:

Lauren at will be giving away a Medela Breast Care Set and Calma - The Breast Care Set comes packaged in a pretty yellow make-up bag so it’s really easy to pop in an over-night bag. Inside Mums will find a tube of PureLan nipple cream, 15 disposable breast pads and 2 soothing hydrogel pads for sore nipples

Luschka at Diary of a First Child is giving away a Medela Swing - It’s not the most glamorous of products but a breastpump is pretty much essential for any mum wanting to breastfeed. They may well plan to exclusively breastfeed, but in the first few days when their milk comes in, a pump can provide great relief. It’s helpful for boosting supply, and ensuring that milk ducts don’t get blocked. Later on if mum is planning to go back to work she can express so her baby can still benefit from the nutrients in breastmilk. Medela’s flagship pump the Swing is super-efficient, and thanks to their 2 phase technology, that mimics the way a baby naturally feeds mums can get more milk in less time. The Swing has won numerous awards including a Which?

Tracy at White Lily Green is giving away a Bravado bra - A good nursing bra is a must-have for any mum planning to breastfeed. Not only does it offer great support, it allows baby quick and easy access to the breast. Bravado’s best-selling Body Silk Seamless bra is smooth, supportive and exceptionally comfortable. It comes in a selection of bright and neutral colours and best of all can be converted into a regular bra once you’ve finished feeding

Katie at Chubs and Love is giving away a Thrupenny Bits pillow - This gorgeous breastfeeding pillow from Thrupenny Bits makes feeding super comfortable for both mum and baby. It’s a handy size too so mums can take it with them wherever they go. Available in several gorgeous designs, this is something all breastfeeding mummies will be lusting after! It’s not just a pillow though, once breastfeeding is over mums can simply remove the filling and it becomes a lovely bag!

Rachel at Three years and Home is giving away a babasling - theBabaSling is a stylish and practical sling that allows mums to not only keep their baby close at all times, but also breastfeed discreetly. Breastfeeding in public can be a little daunting especially in the early days, but theBabaSling offers mums two different positions in which they can nurse confidently. Beyond this there are three other ways to carry baby as they grow, and Dad can get involved too

Saturday 22 June 2013

HOPE - Nicola's Story - Postnatal Depression (PND)

H.O.P.E - Helping Others and Promoting Education - This is Nicola's story -

My first memory of wanting to be a mum was when I was in primary school.  I was asked the usual question of what you want to be when you grow up, my answer “a mummy”.  I also knew that I would have a little girl, I had a name picked out and I imagined all the girly things we would do together.

It took a little while for us to first get pregnant and unfortunately I had an early miscarriage at around 6 weeks I was absolutely devastated I didn’t think I would ever fulfil my dream of being a mum.  Then around four months later we were pregnant again.  I expected things to go wrong again but thankfully this pregnancy stuck.  I am diabetic so needed to attend diabetic antenatal clinics every 2 weeks.  Also because of my diabetes I was scanned every four weeks to check the size of the baby. 

I had my first scan at 7 weeks and the sonographer had to tell me to try and stop crying as she couldn’t see anything I was crying so hard.  As soon as she told me she could see a heartbeat the relief was immense.

My pregnancy continued with very little morning sickness and the regular checks.  I found the antenatal care very difficult because virtually every time I went I saw a different doctor who would tell me how to try and control my diabetes in a different way.  I was supposed to get my blood sugars back to a reasonable level within one hour of eating but if I did this I ended up having a hypoglycaemic episode within the next hour.  I was so frustrated all I wanted to do was keep my baby healthy.

At 20 weeks we had a scan and found out that we were having a boy.  I am ashamed now to admit that I was devastated how could this be – where was my baby girl.  Also around this time I started having severe pain in my pelvic area.  I was diagnosed with symphysis pubic dysfunction (SPD).  I managed to carry on working for a few weeks but the pain was so bad every time I moved that I ended up being signed off for the last 3 months of my pregnancy.  Those last 3 months I was in pain all the time - when I turned over in bed, if I walked up stairs, if I walked anything more than a short distance, if I bent down and if I got in and out of the car.  I had some physiotherapy and they told me ways to move to try and keep the pain to a minimum.  I spent the majority of the next 3 months at home alone only really going out for my antenatal appointments.  It didn’t help that the last month of my pregnancy (December/January 2010) there was very heavy snow and even walking from the door to the car was extremely hazardous.

Through most of my pregnancy my baby was in the breech position and despite trying everything including external cephalic version nothing would get him to move.  I had been advised that due to my diabetes I would be induced at around 38 weeks and because they would be inducing me early there was a high probability that it would not progress and I would end up having a caesarean.  So in some ways it was a relief when they told me I would need to have a caesarean due to the baby being breech.

So on 11th January 2010 we set off for the hospital not entirely sure whether or not we would be having a baby that day as due to the snow there were staff shortages.  However because of my diabetes I was classed as high risk and was at the top of the list to have my caesarean.  All went well and around lunch time I was holding my baby boy, Samuel.  He had the most amazing hair – dark with blonde tips and so spiky – even the midwives commented on his hair being so unusual.  I would also like to say here that he weighed 6lb 13oz so all those worries about my blood sugars making me having a large baby were thankfully for me unfounded.

The first night in the hospital was awful.  At around 9pm I was finally allowed to eat having not eaten since midnight the night before, I was still catheterised from my caesarean and I was alone with my newborn baby.  I was terrified.  I was trying to breast feed but Samuel kept having very low blood sugar levels so we were advised to top him up with formula feeds.  During the first night at one point Samuel started retching and bringing up clear liquid I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t call the midwives because I could hear someone actually giving birth on the postnatal ward so I knew they were all busy.  I just tried to keep calm and hold him.  Later on a midwife came to see me and I explained what had happened.  She said it was normal due to him being delivered by caesarean – normally a baby would get rid of these secretions during the delivery – I wish someone would have told me this could happen so I didn’t panic.  I spent the rest of the night struggling to get my baby in and out of the cot at the bedside when I still really couldn’t move because of the catheter.  It was one of the longest nights of my life.

At 6am the next morning a nurse came and removed the catheter and asked if I would like to have a shower.  I got out of bed and the SPD pain had gone it was like a miracle.  I had been warned that the pain after a caesarean is bad but honestly I had been in so much pain for so long that any pain I felt from my caesarean scar was a breeze.  I nearly ran to the shower as for the first time in months I could walk without pain.
I spent three nights in hospital on a four bed ward and didn’t get much more than one to two hours sleep a night.  Due to Samuel’s low blood sugars he had to be fed every two hours and have his bloods taken every four hours.  I was so diligent in setting my phone alarm and getting him up feeding him, trying to go back to sleep, getting up reminding a nurse he needed his bloods doing and then feeding him again.  Also to contend with were the other babies crying, a Chinese woman in the bed opposite on the phone talking extremely loudly at about 3am and another lady who had the most awful hacking cough.

On the fourth day I begged to be allowed to go home.  I needed to sleep and couldn’t bear it any longer.  I also had a lot of visitors which meant I wasn’t getting much rest in the day either.  As I had Samuel in the hospital I worked in all my friends and colleagues wanted to come and visit.  It was lovely that everyone wanted to see us but absolutely exhausting.

The first thing I remember doing when we got home was phoning my mum.  I was crying harder than I had ever cried before and begging my mum to come and take Samuel away.  I knew that I wasn’t good enough to be his mum, I couldn’t cope and he had to be taken away and adopted.  My mum talked me down and suggested I try and go and get some sleep.  My husband tried to take over but unfortunately Samuel just cried and cried all night.  I think we both thought at that point we had made a huge mistake.

By this point I was so exhausted I couldn’t sleep no matter how hard I tried.  I had a history of depression and during my pregnancy had been referred to the mental health midwife.  She phoned to assess how I was doing and I told her I didn’t know if it was just exhaustion or if I was getting postnatal depression.  We decided to leave it a few days and see what happened.

I can vividly remember one Saturday morning sitting on the edge of my bed while my husband was downstairs with Samuel and thinking if I give myself too much insulin it will all go away, everyone will be better off.  I sat there a little while longer then went downstairs and told my husband what I was thinking.  He was devastated and we immediately went to the emergency doctors.  Unfortunately they couldn’t/wouldn’t do anything and told me I needed to go and see my GP as soon as possible.  Of course as it was weekend I had to wait until the Monday.  At this point Samuel was only 2 weeks old.  When I saw my GP I was started on anti-depressants straight away and referred for counselling.

At this point things become a bit of a blur.  I had 12 months off work for maternity leave and hated every moment.  I would count the hours until my husband would be home and the thought of spending the entire day at home on my own with Samuel was terrifying.  I would bundle him up in the pram and literally walk for miles as somehow being out with him in the pram was better than being at home.  There were times I couldn’t even bear to look at him it made me feel physically sick.

Going back to work was a huge step forward for me.  I could have time being me again.  People used to say to me how hard it must be leaving my baby and coming back to work.  I would say yes it is hard because I knew that was what I was supposed to say but in reality being at work was a relief.  I went back to work four days a week and would spend one day a week at home with Samuel.  I can’t say at what point things got better but I remember one day my husband came home from work and he asked where we had been that day and for the first time ever we hadn’t been out.  I had spent the whole day in the house alone with Samuel without feeling the desperate need to get out.

Now 3½ years later I can honestly say I completely adore my son.  The only feelings about PND I have are guilt that I didn’t love him completely from the start.  The only lasting effect I have now from PND is that I know Samuel will be my only child.  The thought of going through it all again is just too awful to think about.  I know there is a chance that it might not happen again but I’m just not willing to take that risk.  I have a gorgeous son who I adore and the funny thing is he loves helping mummy do baking and hanging the washing up and recently he has even started to help me with my sewing.  All those things I could only imagine doing with a girl are now happening with my little boy.  Life is now good and our family feels complete.  I am only now starting to consider the possibility of coming off the anti-depressants honestly I am scared that I will go back but I’m hoping that soon I can take that final step and finally be free from PND.

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 21 June 2013

Summer Time!

The one thing we love about the summer other than the weather, is having the opportunity to be outside and have a BBQ; although looking at the weather today I think its doubtful if we shall be having a BBQ this weekend.

Last weekend hubbie took charge of our fathers day BBQ; what is it with men and BBQ's?, they can't wait to fire it up, but when it comes to normal evening dinners they don't want to do it! We are very fortunate that my Grandad is a butcher so we know what goes into the sausages and burgers; however being such good quality meat comes with its drawbacks in that less fat means less flames on the BBQ!

Phil on cooking duty!

Hubbie even bought some marshmallows and we toasted them on the BBQ as if we were having a camp fire;  this was a new experience for Ruby and she decided that she only actually liked the pink marshmallows, she really is becoming such a girlie girl. After toasting the marshmallows we even sang a song around our camp fire / BBQ!

Ruby enjoying her marshmallow

We set up a tent so Ruby could pretend she was camping and she thoroughly enjoyed herself; she didn't want to come in when it was time to go to bed , and instead asked for her duvet so she could sleep outside all night! I think one day when the girls are older we might need to take them camping, however judging by our last experience with camping a couple of years ago which resulted in severe burns to my hand and checking into the local premier inn, I think we should leave it for a little while!

Tomorrow I will be featuring a very powerful and moving HOPE post and next week I shall be launching our first giveaway! It is all very excited so keep reading! 

Thursday 20 June 2013

Ruby Quotes!

It always amazes me what comes out of Ruby's mouth, so I thought it would be a good idea to document some of them on the blog. Here are some of my favourites:

  • When telling people about how I want to become a midwife, Ruby always says "my mummy is going to get babies out of people's tummies... she going to be a wife!".
  • The other day, Ruby randomly piped in with "Daddy, you know God .... he thinks I am very good at swimming!".
  • My Nana and Grandad run the local butchers, Ruby refers to her as "Nana down the bunches" (she been saying this since before she could say butchers!)
  • Her current favourite phrases have to be "you must be joking", and "don't be silly daddy!".
  • When I take Ruby shopping, she will find an outfit that she likes, hold it up against her and says "does this suit me? I think it does can you buy it for me?".
  • She has started to tell her friends at play-school "My mummy has an apple phone!".
  • When my sister split up from her boyfriend Ruby replied "can we stick them back together with glue!".

She is soooo cute. What's the funniest thing your little one or you have said as a child? I know from speaking to my mother in law that my husband's uncle taught him to say "bum" as a baby, much to the annoyance of his parents!

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Chit Chat

There always seems to be something happening in our house, and life just seems to be whizzing by; its very hectic! Today my sister badly dislocated her elbow; so much of the day was spent day at the local accident and emergency.

My sisters dislocated elbow! Ouch!

I sometimes wonder how we manage to do the things we do into our daily lives, so today I am dedicating this post to a general catch up.

If you read our post recently about our grown our own vegetables, here are a few snaps of the veg starting to grow. Ruby is still the keen gardener, tending to the vegetables and watering them every night!

Rhubarb has taken really well

Just starting to see the leaves for the potatoes

Beans doing well

Cucumber still tiny

You may recall my post a week or so ago about how Ruby keeps on having allergic reactions to sun-cream, regardless of what brand, whether its hypo-allergenic or not, and how I was fighting against the system to get her an appointment for a specialist to look into this. Well I am pleased to say our latest GP appointment went better than the first and the doctor has referred us to see a specialist. We were initially told that we were likely to be waiting around 6 weeks for the referral letter, and then be put on the waiting list; however, the really good news is I have managed to get her an appointment for a week today! and no I did not have to pay privately for it. I feel so relieved that we will be getting to the bottom of this and finding out hopefully what is causing her to have these allergic reactions. It's a good job I pushed for a referral, although I still feel a bit bad that I had to push so hard for it.

Finally, to update everyone who read about my first evening away from the girls, to have an MRI scan, well the results came back and my knee is not tracking correctly and it looks as if the knee cap itself it too high. I will be having an operation called an arthroscopy and open lateral release in the hope that this will correct the problems that I have been having, and hopefully reduce the pain too. I really am not looking forward to being on crutches and looking after the girls at the same time; its going to be really tough but needs must. I have also made the decision that I want to be awake and have a spinal for the operation, I have been told by several people I am mad, but to be honest I want to see all that is happening and it should mean I spend less time in hospital too!

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Starting school for Ruby and then Mummy!

How has it happened? How has 4 years gone by so quickly? I find it hard to believe that my little girl is going to be going to primary school in September.

Starting to get the school uniform!

Last week Ruby attended an open afternoon at the school and she got so excited when she saw one of the teachers, her little face lit up. She ran in as soon as the school gate was opened without even giving me a cuddle or saying goodbye. To be honest I'm not really sure how I feel about that; I love how confident she is and know when it comes to September school will not phase her, but I did really want a goodbye kiss and cuddle! It feels like she's more grown up than her actually age. Ruby will be turning 4 at the end of July and will be one of the youngest in the school year.

The last 4 years has gone by so very quickly; I have had the most amazing time being able to be a stay at home mummy, enjoying the years with her, and to be honest I don't know what I am going to do with myself come September. I will still have Lottie at home with me as we can not afford childcare, so finding a little part time job is not an option, especially as Phil has irregular working hours.

However, looking further ahead I have come to realise that there will be a time in another 3 years, that I will be going through all this again with Lottie; what am I going to do with my life when the girls are at school? I can't just clean the house and socialise, I want something more for me. This weekend I went off to an open day at a local university; I am going to take the plunge and apply to study a midwifery degree!

I have been fascinated about midwifery ever since Ruby was born, and through my voluntary work at both rape crisis and pregnancy sickness support, I know that supporting women is something I really enjoy. I feel so passionate about becoming a midwife and have been very fortunate that the midwives who delivered my babies and cared for me during my pregnancy have been amazing and supportive; I want to give something back and have a career where I feel I am doing good. The money doesn't even come into, although it will help to us move to a bigger house and maybe the girls could have their own room.

I am slightly nervous about the prospect of going to university as I have not studied for a couple of years and to be honest, I am not looking forward to the 12.5 hour shifts; but I know its going to be so worth it. It will be a challenge to gain a place as competition is high but I already meet all the criteria needed to get me onto the course, so that's a good starting place, I just need to get on and write my personal statement and submit it to UCAS in September; everyone please keep your fingers crossed for me! If you have any words of wisdom or advice please share them with me.

Monday 17 June 2013

Guest Blogger: Hubbie on being a Dad!

Hello, my name is Phil and in addition to being Kimberley's husband, I am a proud father to my two wonderful girls, Ruby and Lottie. As it was Farther's Day yesterday, Kimberley has asked me to write a guest post about being a dad.

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to have children; I thought that I would follow the family tradition and have two, with a gap of two to three years; this is the case with my sister and I and all six of my cousins. I never expected though, that I would have had them both by the age of twenty six! Kimberley keeps telling me that this is a good thing as there is always time to have some more!

We had been together for over seven years by the time Kimberley and I got married; we decided that we wanted to have children right away. We got pregnant very quickly; I remember having mixed emotions when we found out; on one hand I was excited at the prospect of becoming a dad and on the other I was suddenly very aware of how young we both were and how much responsibility having a child would bring.

The day my Life changed Forever!

Heavily outnumbered by this point!

I don't think it really hit me until I was carrying the empty car seat from the car to the delivery suite; I clearly remember having the sudden realisation that when we walked out of the hospital there would be a baby in there!

Becoming a dad, not just once but twice, has been the best thing that has ever happened to me; it has changed me in so many ways for the better; I used to be hardened and afraid to show my emotions, now I have a real purpose in life and am not afraid to show how I feel about my girls.

Ruby giving me the run around from an early age!

The day that Ruby decided she wants
a Pony!

I absolutely love being a father! It is the best feeling in the world when I get home from work and Ruby shouts "Daddy...." at the top of her voice and runs at me open armed; and when Lottie gets all excited as soon as I get near her cot in the morning. These are moments that I will never forget.

I love the fact that both girls are so individual and have very different personalities. It makes me smile every time I see the two of them grinning or waving at each other across the dinner table; they are already the best of friends.

As you can see, Ruby loves her sister very much!

Parenting has definitely had it's ups and downs; being a dad is much harder than I thought it would be, but in the same way, much more rewarding. I am really excited about what the future brings and am determined to cherish every minute of it.