Tuesday, 27 August 2013

She's here

Just a brief one, our termite arrived on Sunday 25th August at 6.59 am at home weighing 8lb exactly. She has no name yet and all suggestions are welcome, a birth story will follow as soon as we have enjoyed our baby-moon cxxx

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Termite is coming......,

 Sat 24th @ 10.53pm

So yesterday I had a membrane sweep as I'm a week and 1 day 'over ' it was uncomfortable and the midwife explained I was still a bit posterior but had moved forward. So I've spent today telling people I'm fine and happy but unfortunately nowhere near.

Then the (sorry I hate this....) Mucus plug  arrived which in previous pregnancies has happened a week before labour but at 9.36pm I had my third real proper hand gripping contraction, another 4 or 5 since leaves me to believe Termite is coming.


But seriously this is uncomfortable! I forgot how much it smarts ;-). Starting to worry about noise making and children waking. The husband is monitoring the contractions. In true engineer style he is pointing out the lack of regularity between 4.5 minutes and 7 minutes. I've threatened to use the tens machine on him!!! Anyway I'm using profanity a bit so I think I may tootle off for a while .


The midwives have been dispatched and in a fit of tears I've declared I'm scared! The husband in a random show of brilliance has just pointed out that as this is number three he's sure I'm going to be a trooper again !

Saturday 31st August 

So the above was written in real time here's the rest.

The midwives arrived at 1am and settled themselves after my initial checks,  with disappointment I listened to the words 4cms! What?! that's nothing, grumpily I carried on my wandering and at about 3am started using the gas and air and trying to rest between powerful contractions.

At 5am or thereabouts another examination filled me with dread, we were only at 5 cms. Sudden thoughts of hospital filled my head but my very supportive midwives had a conversation with me about how I felt about artificial  rupturing of my membranes, I was surprised to hear they would perform it at home and so long as all was well and clear there was no need for hospital. A rather uncomfortable attempt was unsuccessful but a second try worked perfectly.

From there it was all rather quick I have a vague memory of someone keep checking in my pants and thinking of for goodness sake I should just take them off but I was truly in the zone, no one mattered I was so focused on breathing and relaxing I didn't realise I was so close until the midwife asked if our other kids had dark hair.... 'What you can see the head ' said my husband in disbelief. A little bit of denial and hand grabbing later and at 6.59am  there she was! Wide eyed alert and happy snuffling on my chest.

My slight marr on the event is that a little trouble with mucus in termites throat and some reluctance of my body to part with the placenta meant that my husband was left holding her, after just 5 minutes of skin to skin, whilst I was otherwise occupied. This is not something I've done before, my babies have been on me for a long time before anyone has been allowed to take them so I feel like I've missed a bit but that was made up for with lots of family bonding for the rest of the day.

With the midwives gone by 8.30am all was calm in monkey towers ........ And now we are five. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

My Funny Children

I'm sure as fellow parents you can relate to how funny our children can be, I've always said there hasn't been a single day since my daughter was born that I haven't found a reason to smile or laugh at something, no matter how tough day it has been.

But I find it really difficult to choose a single funny children's moment to talk about here because they are either personal 'inside family jokes', which would take a lot of explaining, or, and this is the embarrassing truth, they may not be appropriate for the public, my children after all are at an age of asking many questions about bodies and differences which makes me giggle a lot but I wouldn't necessarily repeat!

I could tell you how funny I found it yesterday when my daughter told me with great indignation that her brother 'poked her in her nose hole with a smurf' I realise on the surface this has more issues than just the fact that she forgot the word nostril, and we should have been concerned about her brothers behaviour. It was an accidental poke luckily though as my husband and I couldn't stop giggling at her terminology.

But my funniest moment of recent times has been a lesson learnt in how repetitive children are. My son recently spent some time with someone who found it funny to make him giggle a lot by 'pinching' his bottom. I say pinch, she was, like many grown ups do, thoroughly enjoying chasing him giggling round the garden pretending to be a crab and pretending to pinch his bum whilst telling him how lovely he was. Now I too am guilty of thinking my children's bottom's are truly works of genius cuteness and sometimes those chubby little legs warrant a great big munch and I know I'm not alone but we have to refrain and here's why.....

The very next day I was politely brought to one side by my sons key worker at playschool to be informed that he had been chasing her and a few children saying pinch pinch pinch and trying to pinch their bottoms! She was holding back tears of laughter when she told me especially as on the whole he is so chilled out and laid back they have never ever had to reprimand him for anything! So  we did need a conversation with him about the inappropriateness of

  1. Pinching
  2. Touching peoples bottoms 
  3. Chasing people to do so
Lets just hope there have been no lasting effects and I don't catch him doing this in his teenage years!

This is my entry to the Comedy Cycle Tots Competition  and I'm also tagging two fellow blogger's to share their funny stories too, why not leave mea comment with your funny stories.

My Buggy Junction

my buggy junction

Mama Mummy Mum

Monday, 19 August 2013

iZi Go Go Go

Ooh I'm so excited!

In July a call went out on Nursery Trader for people to test The Be Safe iZi Go car seat as part of Nursery Trader's Living With Programme. I duly applied, promising first photographs and rights to announce the birth of my newborn child in bargain for a testing position! What could be better, I get to test an award winning product and talk about it every week!!!

I'm overjoyed (as I'm sure you can tell from this blathering post) to say I was selected, so for 3 months I will be putting the iZi Go through its paces in the car and on my pushchair.so keep an eye out for my updates, thoughts and opinions.

A is For Apple

 Book Review -The Apple by Dick Bruna

We love Miffy, by we I mean I have loved Miffy since my childhood so I was delighted to read of an opportunity to review creator, Dick Bruna's first ever picture book, The Apple. Its 60 years since this book was first published and Tate have republished it to celebrate the Anniversary.

Its a lovely lyrical story of a sad rosy apple who feels he is missing out because he has no legs to travel around and see the world. A rooster from the tower nearby takes pity on him and takes the apple on an adventure. It is a simple story with very simple pictures which are lovely for children as they are quite childlike in their simplicity. We found lots to talk about looking at the pages and both Peanut and The golden child loved hearing it, although I think The Golden Child (age 3) may have engaged with it the most. The book is small and hard backed so will travel well  in our bag easily for days out and I think that Peanut will be able to read it independently very soon. Its full of primary colours and the two offspring are looking forward to showing it to their Brother or Sister when Termite arrives, I also think this will be a brilliant read for very very you children, as it has great bright contrasting colours and a lovely rhythm to its words.

In celebration of The Apple's 60th anniversary There will be an exhibition  at Foyles CafĂ©:  with activities and crafts running until 29 August. Tate are also offering The Apple and 2 other Bruna Books , The School and On My Scooter, in a special 3 for 2 offer available at Foyles, Waterstones and many other book stores. All of whom of course stock plenty good old Miffy Books as well.

If you like me are a Bruna and Miffy Fan you can follow Miffy on Twitter and Facebook

The Apple was sent to us free to review but all opinions are our own.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Win 1 of 3 Pushchair Trader VIP Memberships

Pushchair Trader is all about news, reviews, competitions and stuff related to pushchairs, prams, buggies and strollers.

You can check out the news section for the latest pushchair news and browse the ‘real mum’ road tests to get an honest view about the pushchair, pram or buggy you are interested. Sellers can even advertise their Pushchairs for FREE and buyers can quickly search through the listings to find exactly what they are looking for. They run hundreds of  competition every year worth Thousands and Thousands of pounds and VIPs get free multiple entry into all of these.

VIP Members also have the opportunity to apply for testing and reviewing, recent testing opportunities have included, Cosatto Supa, Easywalker Mini and Maxi-Cosi Streety and honestly that names but a few. There are loads of discounts to be had once you've signed up and you can use premium listings to sell your pushchair with 75% dicount on normal listing rates . All this or £12 a year to me is a bargain especially when you get a £5 voucher to spend in the PT shop.

I've been a member for 2 years now and I have taken full advantage of all my perks, getting some great discounted stuff to boot! Plus 92% of PT competitions are won by VIP's so I'm banking on much better odds than the Lottery!

Anyway I have sung their praises enough, Pushchair Trader and I are offering a VIP membership to THREE ,yes that's right, THREE! Lucky winners prizes will be drawn on 31st August and we are using Raffle Copter so its really easy to enter. Don't forget to tell all your friends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Elliot's Birth story

Elliot Michael Cundall
25th  April 2013
8lbs 15oz

Giving birth to Elliot was the most amazing, incredible and positive experience of my life.  I keep replaying it in my mind because it continues to delight me.  Granted, it is only 11 days since he was born but I think this will stay with me forever.

Our second baby was due on the 16 April and as that day, and the 9 that followed it came and went I began to despair.  I so didn’t want to be induced.  That had happened with our daughter, who we had planned a hypno home birth for.  I felt I had already had my compromise – I felt I was owed the birth I wanted this time!  Whilst Imogen’s birth was actually fine, and we had great care and sensitive attention from our midwives, it was highly medicalised.  We were planning to be in the birth centre and to use the pool this time round.  

So on Wednesday 24th April, when I woke up after having felt some twinges in the night I didn’t want to get my hopes up.  This is a theme that runs through the whole labour.  I decided to go into town as I was sick of waiting around for nothing and I was bored.  I headed in but a miscommunication messed up plans to meet a friend for lunch so I just wandered around aimlessly being grumpy.  I came home and had a nap.  My husband came home with Imogen at 6pm and I told him that I had thought something was happening but now it didn’t seem to be.  Secretly I still wondered.  But I didn’t want to jinx it by actually saying it out loud.  By 8.30 I was a bit more certain so I called my parents to put them on standby.  We went to bed at 10pm and I was confident enough of what was happening to download a contraction app for my phone.  They were every 10mins and I rated them as mild, because I didn’t think it was right to start off with ‘strong’ as I would have nowhere to graduate to and then I’d be screwed!  At 11, after umming and ahhing, we called my parents to get them to come over and stay in case we did need to go off in the middle of the night.  We all went to bed.  I thought Matt would be on high alert but he rolled over and started snoring.  I continued to have contractions every ten minutes but I think I went to sleep between each one.  At 5am Matt came to and was surprised to find out the time, and that it was definitely happening.  I figured he’d at least had a bit of rest ready for the fun to come.  Imogen was up at 7 and she came into our bed.  She seemed to understand because instead of clambering all over me, she rubbed my back, face and arm.  We got her sorted for nursery and she went off with her grandparents.  

Then the monotonous, boring bit started.  Matt and I wandered around the house wondering what to do.  I had a TENS machine and that seemed to help a bit, not least because it was something to do when a contraction came – the boost button was well used!I was so tired but every time I sat or lay the contractions went down to 20 mins and I was terrified of making it all stop!  This went on till 4pm when I asked Matt to call the birthing centre again to ask if we could come in to be assessed and maybe get a stronger painkiller.  I knew they would send me home but it was something to do – a change of scenery!  When we got there they said that I was only 2cm but that my cervix was forward and paper thin.  I was disappointed but they gave me some codeine and, crucially, permission to go home and rest for a bit.   I know it was stupid but I needed the reassurance that I wouldn’t make it stop by having a lie down.

When we got home Matt took the contraction counter off me and told me to just rest.  I think I had an hour and a half.  It was broken by the contractions, but I felt like a new woman when I got up at 7pm.  Matt made me some pasta and I ate half of it.  The One Show was on the TV and Andrew Lloyd Webber was on it.  I looked at the TV and was violently sick.  We never watch this rubbish - I have no idea why it was on and am quite perturbed that ALW now features in my birth story.  Anyway, as I was sick I felt fluid and so assumed my waters had gone.  We saved some of the discharge on a pad and rang the centre who told us to come in.  I wanted Matt to first eat his pie that he’d just got out of the oven but he just wanted to get to the hospital.  We wrapped it up and put it next to the wrapped up pad – making a mental note that we mustn’t get them muddled!

On arrival at the birthing centre we were shown to an assessment room.  There was a bit of a wait as it was shift changeover.  Our midwife Michelle and a student Debbie came through and assessed me.  The contractions were still only every 10 mins or so, so they weren’t convinced I was in established labour.  I was desperate not to be sent back home.  It turned out my waters hadn’t gone but Debbie thought I was 4cm.  I prayed that she was right (she was third year after all!)  Michelle confirmed that I was and said I could move to a pool room but that she would hold off formally booking me in or putting me in the pool because she felt I wasn’t quite established and she didn’t want me to be in the system and therefore in need of assessing and intervening every 4 hours.  When we got to the room Matt was amazed at how lovely it was and I had a huge surge of relief that I was here, in this calm, peaceful environment instead of upstairs.

And then it kicked off! The examinations had obviously stimulated something because the contractions were comingthick and fast.  It felt like I just had one, then there was something to be checked (blood pressure or baby’s heart rate etc) and then another came.  I had long since abandoned my app but they would definitely have been rated as intense.  I didn’t want to ask in case I jinxed it but it felt like I was really progressing.  When they suggested I get in the pool I summoned up the nerve to check that we shouldn’t wait like they had originally suggested but they said I was definitely there now!  I took off the TENS and got in.  It was blissful. I loved it.  It was 9pm on the dot.

I found I wanted to be on all fours, holding on to the handles with each contraction.  I noticed Debbie and Michelle bustling about getting things ready but I was just focussing on breathing through each contraction.  I was expecting them to examine me to tell me when I had got to fully dilated.  I think this was because of my experience of being induced, where every centimetre was marked and acknowledged.  When they told me I should do what my body wanted I told them I felt I wanted to push and was amazed when they said I should.  I didn’t dare ask the vital question ‘am I actually going to have the baby soon’ and was still mentally preparing myself for the long haul.  So I pushed and screamed and then apologised for screaming.  I’d like to think I am a quiet, serene birthing mother.  But the evidence is that I am a screamer.  I knew Matt was laughing at me......I still didn’t really let myself believe that it was happening, even as the stinging sensation returned that I instantly recognised from first time round.  When they told me to do little pushes I distinctly remembered thinking that that’s what they say on One Born when the head is coming.  They were putting on their plastic aprons too, but it couldn’t be that straightforward.  Could it?! Then the head was out and I could feel it there.  I was told to move back so I could catch my baby with the next contraction.  And then I think I let myself believeit.  I had a moment of absolute clarity that I was glad I didn’t know what sex the baby was because I was looking forward to finding out after all the hard work. 

 My membranes hadn’t gone so the baby was still in its sac.  Matt said it made him look like a robber with tights over his head.  As I manouvoured backwards it seemed an age as we waited for the next contraction.  I panicked that it had stopped but was reassured that it was just my body resting ready for the final stretch.  And then it came, and our baby was there.  He unfurled and broke his membranes and I scooped him up into my arms.  I looked at the clock, which said 10.24 but I couldn’t believe it so I (repeatedly) asked the time.  We looked down together and saw that we had a boy.  As we were both convinced it was going to be another girl we were genuinely quite surprised.  But of course as soon as we looked at him it seemed obvious that it was always going to be him, that he was our boy, Elliot.  

I wanted to deliver the placenta without the injection, and to delay cutting the cord so there followed a slightly bizarre situation where I had to get out of the pool and on to the birthing bed with Elliot still attached, and the membrane sac dangling out too!  I am rhesus negative so they needed to get a blood sample, otherwise I would have stayed in the water.

We lay on the bed and Elliot made his way towards my boob for a feed. Calls were made, texts sent and facebook informed of Elliot’s arrival.  I was euphoric.  I’d got the perfect birth and a perfect boy.  And I’d done it without any pain relief (in all honesty I kept wondering when I would be offered it but I now realise that it said on my birth plan that I didn’t want to be offered it and would ask if I felt I needed it!) The placenta was delivered easily and I didn’t need any stitches, although Debbie did have to push my cervix back up which was really painful.  Elliot was feeding at the time though and my delight that that seemed to have got off to a good start overided the discomfort.

We moved across the hall to another room at midnight and had a relatively calm night.  Then the next day it was time to start life as a family of four.  

Seeing Imogen and introducing her to her baby brother will forever be one of my most treasured memories.  

The thing that made this experience so positive for me was that I felt in control of it throughout.  The birthing centre is an amazing place.  Compared to Imogen’s induced birth, it felt so hands off.  And yet I felt absolutely safe, secure and informed.  Having said that, although my two birth experiences are opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of detail, the affirming, ‘actually it doesn’t matter now you’re here’ bit is identical.  We are lucky – and privileged – to live in a society that allows us a variety of safe choices for how we want to birth our babies.  

Carfest Family Review by Nat

It seems an age ago that Adam (the husband) and I were frantically trying to remember our PayPal
password in order to pay for our Carfest North 2013 tickets, but as with life, the event was upon us before we knew it. Carfest is pretty much self-explanatory, cars + a festival, there’s a one for the North, which was at Oulton Park, Chester (which in my opinion can’t really be classed as North) and one for the South, Laverstoke Park Farm, Hampshire. The event was the brain child of Chris Evans and he promotes it through his Radio 2 morning programme. The event helps to raise money for Children in Need.
There were a few options for tickets and we opted for weekend camping - £115 for 15+, £30 for child, Under 6’s go free!
Our family consists of me, Nat, a teacher (36), Adam, (as previously mentioned, the husband) who is self-employed (37) and the terrors, Molly (4) and Erin (20 months). We’ve been camping a few times with Molly, and ventured to Solfest with her last year, but for Erin, this was a totally new experience.
The journey was fine, no dramas and we arrived at Oulton Park at 1100 on Friday 2 August. We saw instantly that this was a well organised event, the stewards were highly visible, knowledgeable and helpful, and the car parking was pain free. Lugging our tent, kids, food, sleeping gear, clothes,
camping chairs, wellies and soft toys to our camping site was a challenge. Cars were parked quite a distance away from the tent pitches, thankfully, we were aware of this as the Carfest website gave all of this information, we had also received several emails leading up to the event giving us information etc. Small wheelbarrows were available to hire, buggies were used as cart horses, trailers were towed by kids, we took our trusty Radio Flyer. 

After we had established base camp, daddy did a few shuttle runs, and hey presto we were set up, my one advice for anyone wanting to take up camping, buy a really good airbed, it makes a massive difference.

Walking toward the race track entrance we saw again that this was a well organised event, the campsite was basically a field, but it had been thoughtfully supplied with water butts in case of fire, drinking water, and sufficient toilets, marked out pathways, plenty of stewards (they even had a prisoner of war style lookout point in the middle) , lights, showers, food stalls and even a campsite
Head Quarters!

Oulton Park is a race track, the festival is about cars, so, cars go around the track all day, access to the main site was either over a footbridge (tricky with kids and wheeled transport) or at designated crossing points at timetabled intervals throughout the day. We ended up having to use the footbridge which was interesting with the Radio Flyer!

Anyway, once in we were met with a fab 
display of VW Camper Vans, then Renault 5’s, then DeLorean's (the car from Back to the Future), and it continued. I’m not necessarily a car geek, but I couldn’t fail to be impressed by some of the vehicles we saw. Chitty, Chitty, 100 Aston Martins, Ferraris... and so many more.


As well as cars there was a whole marque dedicated to Cakes vs. Pies... Paul Hollywood, who I’ve
been reliably informed is quite poplar these days, and Mary Berry were judging the competition
(cakes won). There was a fair, mini-tank rides, monster trucks, quad bike displays, dancing diggers,
The Flying Barrows (think Red Arrows but wheelbarrows), food stalls, Pudsey and Blush Bears, fun
tents for the kids, air displays, there was even a cashpoint ... then the music. 
After all of the car stuff  through the day, the music starts, Deacon Blue, Texas, Alfie Boe, The Feeling,
Jamie Cullum, The Lancashire Hot Pots (our favourites – I mean ‘Chippy Tea’ and ‘Shop mobility
Scooter’ how could we not be impressed), The Magic Numbers, Bjorn Again, Ocean Colour Scene,
Reef, I’ve probably missed some out, but you get then idea. Some of the acts I wouldn’t normally
listen to, but we did, and it was fantastic. The girls loved it, they danced and jived, made new friends
and it was a safe and relaxed environment, alcohol was consumed but not abused, people were
courteous and helpful , we felt safe.

Baby changing facilities were limited, but when you camp you expect to take the rough with the
smooth. Adam was the only one of us who tried the showers, he said they were ok! The girls and I
used good old wet wipes, it’s good to get dirty sometime.
The food was expensive, £20.50 for fish and chips for us all, but we had supplies at the tent. We did manage to spend £40 on two bits of fur for the girls which were tails, lesson most definitely learned ... ask how much before promising asomething to a  child. 

The weekend was over before it started, it went so well, the weather clearly helped, at times, dare I say, it was a little too hot, we will most definitely try to get tickets next year, it was expensive, but it was amazing, fun for all.
Things we learned:
  • The Radio Flyer was brilliant for lugging things about, including sleeping kids, but it was heavy to pull.
  • Our 4 man tent is ok, but a 6 man would be better!
  • Crocs are brilliant for slipping on to get in and out of the tent.
  • Chairs for Kids were great but could’ve done with a little table.


Now to empty the car and begin on the washing, ooo, better get the kids and me bathed too, there’s only so much wet wipes can clean!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Skip Hop and a Jump of Joy For Bag Heaven

Skip Hop Dash Deluxe Review

In the days before children, I loved a beautiful handbag, and had a large collection of  bags. So it should have come as no surprise that my healthy 'appreciation' of bags would continue into motherhood.

Ive had a lot of baby changing bags, my free Boots Parenting Club  bag, the obligatory matching bag for my Quinny and numerous others, but my favourite by far has been The Skip Hop I have owned two Duo's but my favourite by far is the Dash

Skip Hop create unique, innovative and highly functional products that make parenting easier, better and more fun. Based in New York City, Skip Hop is available world-wide for parents who appreciate better products that help improve their busy lives. Started by Husband and Wife team  Ellen and Michael Diamantin 2003 after the Birth of their Son they searched for a diaper bag that looked great and worked well, they found nothing. So they invented something.

Almost a decade and hundreds of products later, Ellen and Michael are still inventing “everything-in-its-place” solutions that are smart, functional and great- looking for overjoyed, busy parents like themselves.
Today, Skip Hop is a global brand recognised by discerning parents for innovation, great design and the highest quality in the baby products business.

Skip Hop products meet or exceed all applicable standards for product safety in the markets they sell to. This includes physical/mechanical standards, as well as recent legislation regarding chemicals and minerals such as BPA, lead and Phthalates. All parties involved in the manufacture of Skip Hop products are required to follow these guidelines, and all tests are conducted by registered independent testing facilities.

They also have AMAZING customer service but I shall tell you more of that later. So having owned many bags I decided I would treat myself to a Limited Edition Jonathon Adler Skip Hop Dash and how beautiful it was ......

It comes with a pouch perfect for my mummy essentials which are, mini mouth wash, mini deodorant, money, mints and a bobble or two. There is also a wipe clean changing mat, but the pockets, oh my days I love an organised bag , onviously, and this has two pockets on the front, one on each side, a long one on the back a zip up one along the top, two pockets inside at the back and one inside at the front and a huge middle section. 

Do you know what that means? I can take 2 children's water bottle, secure my keys in the zippy pocket (clipped to the special purpose installed hook,  I have an internal pocket for a change of clothes for each of my toddlers, a pocket for a clean tee for me, room for snacks, games, calpol, Karvol,  wipes, my  ipad, two Iphones, Saprtacus' glasses my sunglasses and passports tickets and money, plus my little matching pouch and the changing mat (just in case I need to sit one of the kids down somewhere not clean) slides just perfect in the back section.

I mention all of these things because that is exactly what went into it on our last 4 holidays, and just to make me love it more, it fits perfectly under the seat in front so I have everything to hand

The fabric is touch and hard wearing and it has a strap to use like a messenger bag or two wee straps to use for hooking over a pram handle bar, these can be detached/unfastened if you want but I love the choice so mine stay firmly in place.

Now I want to tell you about my customer service experience. I emailed Skip Hop to say I'd noticed a slight fault in the material, they replied to ask for a picture, the item number from the internal tag and details of where and when I had bought it, which by the way was more than a year ago. I replied with all the details and the very same day the emailed to tell me a new replacement was on its way! Absolutely amazing customer service and in my opinion makes the Bag worth every single penny.

We also have Skip Hop Zoo Lunchies and Back Packs which I will review soon but I can say with no hesitation we all love them.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Magic midwives

I'm writing this post sitting in a reclining chair at my local Antenatal Assesment Suite, I'm 39 weeks pregnant and my 'termite' hasn't moved much today so I called my midwife to ask if she wouldn't mind giving me the once over, I can do this ANYTIME I HAVE A CONCERN, I find this amazing. Any little concerns and I have a wealth of knowledgeable people ready to help me feel better. 

I know many people could and probably will tell me nightmare stories about shoddy service, awful treatment and uselessness in the NHS but I personally am grateful for our health service I don't need to worry about insurance or having cash in the bank should one of my rough n tumble kids throw themselves off, on, under, over or onto something causing untold injury, and that does happen. In fact I've been to A&E probably 10 times in 4 years for my two, I'd hate to think of what that would cost in America or elsewhere with paid for health care.

But for me one of the most amazing commodities our NHS has to offer is the magical marvel that is our midwives. In three pregnancies I have possibly been seen by about 30 (all ladies for me so I'm not being sexist if I use feminine terms) of these amazing women and almost every single one has left me feeling like she genuinely cared about me and baby, real personal concern. So much so I find it sad when the day comes that you are 'discharged from midwifery care' !

Take for example the midwife who popped in when peanut was 5 days old just for the usual check, I mentioned that the baby blues had hit and quite honestly my face was leaking at random moments with no warning. An hour , and a cup of tea later I had just had a lovely chat about our joint interests in theatre, children, arts and general world events. She didn't give me any spiel about how to feel better, didn't force the signs of PND down my throat and in fact she made me feel normal and sane and reasonable. 

Or my named midwife who welcomed me back into her care, asked about the family, who she remembered by name, and put to rest my fears of being pregnant at 35 for the third time whilst possibly not at my fittest, she who can find a way to give me facts and the truth whilst still settling my worst worries with her knowledge and confidence. 

Or the lady today who with no scorn or discounting of feelings, asked what was going on with Termite and chatted about the joys of parenting whilst strapping me up to a monitor  taking my blood pressure and temperature and reading my notes (all at once and with such efficiciency I barely even noticed!) Said midwife has been in to see me and check my trace every ten minutes she's offered food, tea, water and a cushion more than once. She has been very calm despite the alarms that keep coming from my trace and is keen to put my mind at ease that Termite is just winding me up. 

Turns out she's right because after an hour and a half of monitoring and checks all has returned to normal but she has written in my notes and said out loud 'you have open access to our services ring us any time you are concerned' and that is the key ... WE ARE HERE FOR YOU that's what makes the difference and helps with any worries that's what makes you feel valued nd cared for. 

I think our midwifery care is second to none and Mr's Cameron and Clegg should maybe walk mile in their shoes before making any further cuts to the services provided by them, and the rest of the NHS I'm sure there are savings to be made but the care of patients must come first we have this amazing free health service and we need to preserve it and, for the purposes of this post I would like us to celebrate the midwives who ensure we are well cared for and in most part support the choices we take for granted like the choice to birth where and how we want safely and with support.

So Thankyou from me to all of those who have dealt so happily, kindly and efficiently  with all that pregnancy has thrown at me. 

Friday, 2 August 2013

Kates Birth Stories

These birth stories have been kindly shared by a lovely fellow blogger Mummy Kate who blogs over at Family Fever

Gemma's birth story
Gemma Louise arrived in the world on Jan 22nd 2006 at 2.13pm, weighing 8lbs 7ozs. She was almost 3 weeks overdue.
My contractions started on a Saturday evening, and continued to get stronger throughout the night. I stayed at home as long as I could, using the bath as pain relief. When we arrived at my local midwife led birth centre, I was examined and told I was 4cms dilated.
I used gas and air for pain relief, and rocked on a birthing ball. The pains got stronger and stronger, and after another examination, it was discovered I was 8cms. However, the baby's head was too high and not moving down, and the midwives were worried about cord prolapse. So, an ambulance was called and I was transferred to a hospital 20 miles away.
On arrival, my waters broke, and I started to feel very out of control. Another examination showed I was fully dilated, but baby's head was still very high. I pushed for 2 hours, and managed to move the baby right down the birth canal, but at that point she stuck fast. I was already on a monitor as her heart rate was showing decelerations, and it was decided at this point that a ventouse delivery would be neccessary. The doctor attached the cap to the baby's head and pulled with each contraction. However, the suction cap came off her head, and the doctor quickly attempted forceps instead as her head was crowning.
One more contraction with the forceps and she was almost here - at which point they lost her heart trace on the monitor, and were unable to find it again. The crash team was called, and as I had no epidural in place, I was given a general anaesthetic and rushed to theatre for a crash C section.
Obviously, I don't remember the next part, but I do know Gemma was born flat and unresponsive and was resuscitated at birth. She was taken to SCBU for monitoring.
When I came round, I was taken to see her. She had a large red sore on her head from the ventouse cap, and forceps marks on her face. She had a drip and several monitors attached and it was hard to see.
Happily, after a few days, Gemma came home. She has since grown into a lively, chatty and bright little girl who teaches us something new about the world every day.

Jacob's birth story
Jacob Alex arrived on April 25th 2008 at 7.57pm, weighing 6lbs 4ozs.
When I found out I was expecting Jacob, we had a meeting with a consultant to discuss the birth. After taking everything into consideration (including my last traumatic delivery) we agreed on an elective C section, and this was booked for the end of May 2008, at 39 weeks.
At 34 weeks, I attended a routine antenatal appointment, where my waters broke. I went straight to the hospital and was admitted for an emergency C section the same day.
We were introduced to a paediatrician before the operation, and he explained to us the problems that can face premature babies. We were warned he could be very small, and he may need help with breathing as his lungs would not be mature. I was given a steroid injection to help his lungs cope.
I was then taken down to theatre and given a spinal block. The operation began, and within minutes Jacob was lifted from my tummy - screaming! This was such a relief as we knew it meant his lungs were functioning. We had a quick cuddle before he was taken to SCBU.
Once I was stitched, I was taken round to see him. He was breathing on his own, and was a very healthy size for a 34 week baby! He was monitored for a few days in SCBU to ensure he could feed and maintain weight, which he did, and he soon came home to join our family. 
He has since thrived, and is now an active and mischevious little monkey who makes everyone laugh!

Pre - Birth Wobbles

The homebirth kit is here, my nursery is almost done and the house is clean and tidy, this can mean only one thing, I've nested like mad and its nearly time.

But that's true IT REALLY IS NEARLY TIME, and this has made several things happen....

  • I can't help feeling excited to see out Termite, but I'm a little sad that I don't get to do this again, no more bumps for me, three is our number and I don't get to grow another one, no more secret bond, no more guilt-free loving the hugeness of my belly! Again though this does mean we will have a Termite!!!

  • I don't wish to be apart from Spartacus or be far from home! This is a strange feeling and I realise completely a hormonal maternal instinct but my its powerful and means I have become a bit of a recluse which in turn means I'm just now re-arranging things that don't need re-arranging, like the office of Spartacus, he remains unamused !
  •  This is going in capslocks , sorry WE ARE GOING TO HAVE 3 CHILDREN UNDER 5!!!!  I have started thinking of the logistics of this.... how do you hold two children and push a pram across the road, what if in a couple of years they decide to run in three different directions, how will the school run work? Anyway I have considered these things and decided .... its better not to think too much, it'll be fine, I can just buy some skippy ropes and tie the kids together when we are out (I'm joking for anyone who thinks there is need for a 'cause for concern form')
  • I'm craving more mints and pickles than ever before and I'm HUNGRY A LOT
  • I feel the need for an evening out with Spartacus before I have a baby attached to me almost permanently, yes I am a fan of cuddles and carrying and I love every minute but poor Spartacus deserves a bit of me time I think.
  • Now this one came as a shock as I have never ever been afraid of the birthing process, but, I have to give birth and something could go wrong, what if I never get to kiss my kids again, what if I leave my husband with 3 children to bring up and support, how will he know my plans and all the little things that I understand because I'm with the kids all the time  Like peanut sometimes just needs to have 5 minutes in her room, because like her Mum her emotions get the better of her, or that The golden Child likes his Weetabix put together like a computer before the milk goes on.Will Spartacus know where the advent calenders are, will he know that I've already got the kids Christmas PJ's? Will my kids know that I love them with every single bit of my being and wish beyond everything that they grow into confident happy healthy grown ups who see the world and be all that I know they can be.
As I said that last one has come as a shock and I can only imagine that this is a strange hormonal mystery that I've not encountered with the first two and that all will be fine as I live in a society where women are, in the most part, safe during their birthing with access to services that mean these worries of mine really are unfounded.

What about you did you have any last minute wobbles, I would love to read your comments.

The Golden Child Arrives (boo 2)

Again I was alone when I looked down to see the happy blue line on my 'ebay best' pregnancy test. Of course I knew already, the metallic taste in my mouth had given it away days before, but its nice to have a confirmation. Spartacus was at the other end of the country and not due home for  a few days, but I wanted to tell him in person so I was holding a secret again!!

Several things struck me all at once
  1. That happened quick
  2. Yeah we planned close together but oh my peanut is only 9 months
  3. I'm due back to work in a couple of weeks! 
  4. My SPD has only just disappeared
Despite the shock ,it was after all a planned pregnancy a choice we made, I was so happy. It was peanut's birthday in December which would be after our scan so we decided to wait until we had celebrated before taking her limelight away. This time I knew I wanted a home birth, I was armed with research and back up and I marched with purpose into the doctors surgery ready to demand a different midwife this time, one more supportive of home birth, and demand that I be allowed a home birth I KNEW MY RIGHTS.

It was in fact a civilised conversation which resulted in a supportive telephone call from the head of midwifery and an appointment with a different and most kind midwife. One who had birthed 3 times at home and was excited to support me in my choices.

I headed back to work still keeping my secret from all but Spartacus, soon enough though the hormones were at work and I needed to tell my boss, she was very lovely and pleased for me (dissapointed at losing me again when I had just gotten back) although (please no one shoot me for this) I can understand a feeling of shock and disappointment from a boss in this situation after all Id just returned from over a year off mostly at full or high pay and now I was heading on soon again!

My SPD returned with a vengeance and the doctor had me at home from around 20 weeks! More time to plan my home birth, and plan I did, pool organised, house cleared, contingency plans in place fridge stocked and supplies bought, it turns out The Golden Child had other plans though.

I went over by 11 days and by 41 weeks and 3 days I was having my 3rd stretch and sweep and went off car shopping with the husband and peanut. My first signs came in a car showroom on that lovely Sunday afternoon and I knew things weren't far. I had however already said in no uncertain terms would I be forced into induction before 43 weeks, I believe we are all different and technically you aren't late until 42 weeks has passed. This was a mute point because at 4.10am on Monday morning I excitedly woke Spartacus to tell him we were all stations go. With much excitement we decided it was time for tea and TV and spent the next 3 hours watching House on sky plus! My contractions were strong but irregular and then suddenly when peanut woke us they stopped, almost as if my body knew it should wait while I looked after her. As was the norm for peanut and I, we played until lunch time, ate and then went for a nap, I left my tens machine on pulse and managed to sleep although the contractions were back now and getting more regular. We packed peanut off for an afternoon at Nana's and at teatime I called the delivery suite and a midwife was dispatched I remember thinking she would head home soon enough as this had really been a breeze so far, I'd done housework, had a nap and was really rather relaxed, but joy of joys she said these words 'well I think you are about 6cms' Eek it was nearly time to have a home birth.

We asked the two midwives to stay out of sight whilst peanut was brought home and put to bed and then I climbed into the pool, and there I stayed for the next 3 hours blissfully floating like a hippo, but something had changed, everything seemed to slow down, the water had worked a little too well, at 11 pm I was only around 8cms and getting tired so the midwife pretty much stood over me whilst I ate toast and honey, biscuits and a banana. There were lots of under breath conversations and I could feel myself getting anxious so I asked if I could be alone for a while, the midwives explained that baby's heart rate was starting to be a concern so they would like to monitor me more. At this point things started to feel like they were slipping from my control, I was in a room with Spartacus, 2 midwives and a student midwife feeling crowded and not at peace, Spartacus was on the phone to the Godmother asking her to come round and ambulances were being talked about.

By the time the godmother arrived (she's a nurse and  I knew she immediately wanted to know if she could be of any help) all I wanted was to curl into a ball and nest for a while but, the decision had been made, my boys heart rate was soaring and not calming quick enough and despite my gut instinct that if I could just have some peace all would be fine, an ambulance was on its way and I was barking instructions about sleeping arrangements, pants and phone chargers.

Blue lighted to the hospital with a paramedic who seemed rather concerned about my calmness and lack of gas use and even more concerned I might be about to deliver in his ambulance, the journey was short and Spartacus was not far behind but it was all a little upsetting. I was zoomed into a room, strapped on a monitor and suddenly I was where I didn't want to be, strapped to a bed with talk of rupturing membranes and staying still for an hour. The drugs were starting to play in my mind but more than that was my need for privacy. The doctors ruptured my membrane and when I was told I would need monitoring I new my active birth was disappearing so asked for some diamorphine.

No sooner had I been given it I was told all was well heart rate was perfect and I could come off the monitor and move around but I could feel the drugs taking effect, I knew I was close but when the many midwives passing in and out of my room asked was I having any urge to push I said no! I knew I was lying but I wanted to be alone with my husband and do what women do. At around 5am a midwife ran into my room saying 'you are pushing I can hear you through the door (you midwives are a clever bunch I thought I was quite quite but apparently you all 'know' ) 

20 minutes later My boy was in my arms and I can tell you now looking back at the pictures he looked strange! He was flaky and had a pale tinge and had red around and in his eyes from such a speedy birth, (all normal in overdue babies apparently) but when my husband dared say 'is he OK he looks a bit strange ' I snapped off his head with a 'Shurrup hes the most beautiful thing' At last my bolt had come and blinded by love he and I started our very easy this time, breast feeding journey and thankfully I was home before lunch tired from no sleep and a 25 hour labour but happy as can be.

Peanut returned from her preschool looked in the moses basket and said 'awwww my baby', and that was it, our life as a family of four had begun.