Sickness and parenting, not a good mix!

It’s horrible when you have a sick baby. They can’t tell you what’s wrong and you battle to sooth them through nightmare nights that seem to last eons. They seem to revert and only sleep upright on you and you lay there stressing that each breath seems hard work for them. Surrounded by calpol, snotty rags and tissues, saline solution and breathing in the vapour plugin you wonder if it will ever end. But it does, and they will return to their normal selves. However, by then, more often than not, the parents have caught the cold! Argh!!! What happens when the parent is sick?!

There is no day off. No calling in sick before a certain time, so that you can crawl back under the duvet and rest. There is no extra sleep to recover, you just have to keep going. Your baby does not understand that you are ill! When I have headaches seems to be the time my son wants to practice “singing” at the top of his lungs! My brain feels like it is going to explode! But through the knife like sensation cutting through your eyeballs, you have to try and keep smiling and going through some sort of routine, because it is not their fault and they just don’t get it! I have been pretty poorly lately and that included sinus pain (oh my god bending over to pick up the boy was excruciating each time!) and each day I have been waiting for his Dad to walk through the door! He has been amazingly helpful and been finishing the DIY project too, I have managed to get some rest in the evenings. Trouble is there is always that evening meal to sort out.

So this time I’ve been thinking. We have started our Baby Led Weaning journey (messy but fun!) and we are constantly striving to be healthier and I am starting to enjoy cooking a nice meal. After 4pm tends to be the witching hour in our house (did I say hour?! Haha! Hour! Try until bedtime!) he can be okay a little longer, it depends when he had his nap, but this also does not help our cooking! We have been juggling him, DIY, sorting the house and all other activities into this short time. Being ill has also meant that I just can’t think straight to sort what we are having for tea, let alone doing it! My husband has been resourceful and made omelettes and found a pasta bake jar to use (must have these in for “emergencies”!!!)  so we haven’t resorted to takeaways just yet! I just want to make tea time easier! Then I remembered the slow cooker! Oh the slow cooker! How did I forget about you?! I am now in the middle of compiling a 4 week meal plan so that there is variety, but I don’t have to think about what meals we fancy – it will be already chosen! There of course will be more freedom at the weekend, when we have at least a little more free time! But I think that if we do 2 big slow cooker recipes a week, we will have enough to have leftovers the following night and the stress of cooking will be removed! Well, that’s the theory anyway! I’ll let you know how it goes!!

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Do you have any tips for eating healthily in the week, but quickly too? Also any slow cooker recipes that are a win in your house would be warmly welcomed!

Birth and Factor V Leiden

Ok, so the next step in the journey is the birth of my gorgeous son. I had a massive bump to say the least, and my blood pressure and pulse rate were very high. In hindsight this was a red flag. Still I plodded along as best I could with the PGP, and my midwife sent me to have some tests done at 41 weeks. I was in the hospital having blood work and both me and my baby were being monitored. During the monitoring I was lying on my back and I felt the baby turn putting us back to back. The monitoring was showing that I was having contractions and that they were coming quite regularly. I was found to be almost 2cm dilated too and the nurse told me she would see me back there later. I was sent home feeling that my baby was on it’s way.

I was in the early stages of labour for days. I kept having sweeps (not very pleasant) and was constantly having contractions, but nothing was happening! I was on the ball, walking, doing everything I’d been told and all my yoga moves, but nothing. This was incredibly frustrating. On the Sunday night I felt that there really was stronger and even more regular contractions and my Mum came over and took me and my husband down to the maternity ward. I was straight into the pool room and felt like things were finally happening. I was checked and I was 2cm dilated. I could have cried…..I think I did! I was sent home. I went to bed and slept as best I could. I had breakfast the next morning and then carried on with the ball and walking. By lunch I couldn’t keep anything down. I was very uncomfortable, I tried the bath, but felt it was time. My Mum arrived again and agreed and took us both down again!!

I was on the midwife led unit and this time was in just a normal room. I was checked and was about 3-4cm dilated. Honestly I was gutted. I was allowed to stay and they got me into the pool room and into the water. I was allowed gas and air as I was struggling with the contractions. I was in there for hours. I felt things were going well, although I was finding the contractions more challenging as the time went on. My husband and mum helped rub my back, hold the gas and air and hold me up in the worst contractions! I was checked again and was only 4-5cm dilated, I’d been in the water about 4-5hours at this point. The labour was progressing very slowly, the baby’s head was just not in the right place, so I wasn’t dilating fast enough. Concerns were raised and I was exhausted and could not keep any food down. I was transferred to have more assistance.

Luckily I just had to go down one floor in the lift – but still that was challenging. I asked for an epidural at this point as I just couldn’t see how I could keep going; the gas and air had stopped helping. Having to keep still whilst they gave me the epidural was hard and I was still being sick. The guy who gave it to me was brilliant!! He got it first try (thank goodness as I’ll explain later) I was also given Oxytocin to help dilate faster. I was able to get a bit of rest. I don’t think my husband or mum did at this point! After several hours I was fully dilated. There were some concerns about what I could do and talk of an emergency cesarean. My midwife was amazing,  I had to go straight into pushing instead of letting my body get used to being fully dilated, she was clear, kind, but determined I would get this baby out! I managed to get him all the way down, but couldn’t get him round the last bend (I hadn’t really appreciated there was a bend!!) so forceps were used to help guide him out of the last corner! Him, yes a him! We had not found out and I was stunned to find out he was a HE! We are a family of girls, he is the first boy for us! He came into the world at 7.15am on the Tuesday! A long, long labour. I was amazed, but he was quickly taken to have some help in SCBU – they were concerned about his breathing. I was told to rest and then they would take me down, my husband was able to go with him.

I took a bad turn and due to a temperature and the length of the labour. I felt so far away. I was quite frightened. It took a lot of being seen by Doctors, fluids, anti-sickness injections (yes more than one!) cold flannels (thanks mum!) and antibiotics to help bring me back round. They insisted I had some sleep before seeing my son. I finally met him for cuddles and happy tears at 3:30pm the Tuesday afternoon. The happiest moment ever! I’d been taken to SCBU in my bed, so cuddles were easier! We had a few days in hospital as he was monitored and I was given antibiotics, and my fragmin injections. Even after all of this I was only given 2 weeks worth of fragmin injections – 6 weeks should have been the minimum. I was unaware of this trusting the consultant, but if you know you have a genetic predisposition, such as Factor V Leiden, then 6 weeks postpartum is what you should be given no less! After a couple of nights we were finally able to go home, I was excited and so happy! Little did I know what lay just around the corner…

Salt Dough Printing Fun!

It was my husband’s birthday this month and although we weren’t doing birthday presents as such this year I felt he should have something from his son. I didn’t want to get him something generic I wanted him to have something special to keep, but I had left it to the very last minute!! Que salt dough! It is so easy to make and it’s using things most people have around the house, so I didn’t even need a trip out! Woo hoo! I wanted to use it to make some hand prints and footprints (belonging to Danny of course!)

Ingredients:

  1. Plain flour
  2. Table Salt
  3. Water
  4. Baking paper

Method:

  • Preheat oven at around 180°/190° gas mark 4/5
  • Mix equal measures of the flour and salt (however much you want, obviously more will make more dough)
  • Add cold water a bit at a time and keep mixing with your hand. You need to add enough water to make a dough. If it’s sticky you’ve added too much and need some extra flour, if it crumbles and won’t go into a ball then you’ve not added enough and need more water.
  • Pull off some of the dough and roll it into a ball in your hand and then roll flat on the side using a rolling pin. The idea is to get the dough quite thin as it will dry out quicker. How thick you want it is up to you, but I did about the thickness of a pound coin.
  • Place the hand or foot into the middle and push down. Wipe the foot or hand using a baby wipe (we don’t want that salt ending up in little mouths!)
  • Repeat until all dough is used. Cut off any odd bits of dough to create an oval shape around the print.
  • Place on baking paper onto trays and put in the preheated oven for 2-3 hours. Checking and turning them over for a few more hours at this point if they need to dry out on the opposite side. The slower you dry them out the better, if you put them in at a higher heat for a shorter time they will bake, which is not what you want them to do.
  • Paint around the footprint/hand print. I used left over taster pots from painting the nursery!

So there you go, fun easy and cheap! Lovely as little gifts for grandparents, or just for yourself if you want to repeat the process every year and watch those little prints grow! I absolutely love mine! Think I will be doing it again for his first birthday! It’s only 6 months away now!!

Mum’s Day Off Wish List

As you sit up in the middle of the night holding your little one your mind starts to wander in the dark. For me at the moment we are dealing with a poorly boy who is full of a cold, so that has thrown our incredibly vague routine (we lean towards ‘gentle parenting’ methods) completely out the window. Unfortunately he cannot tell us what is wrong, so as a result we have a sad, crying little man who only wants to sleep up right and on one of us. So we take it in turns to sleep or sit soothing him. I was trying to keep myself awake, so started with naming as many countries as I could (I believe I repeated Italy a few times as exhaustion set in) whilst I patted, rocked and soothed my boy; all a bit awkward anyway as I have to keep my left leg elevated due to DVT recovery. So in my rather uncomfortable position my mind wandered further onto a rather wicked idea. In the style of that oh so 80’s film, ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ what if I had a ‘Mum’s Day Off’?! What would I do with myself? What would my wish list be? Well I would keep it local and it would be something like this:

  1. A luxury long lie in until at least 9am! Yes, as late as that! I would want to wake amongst fluffy pillows and my soft duck egg bedsheets from Laura Ashley.
  1. For me it then would have to be a massive cup of tea and a mouth-watering breakfast of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup from the Boston Tea Party. Yum, Yum! No interruptions or having to eat whilst walking around, just sat down drinking HOT tea and having a HOT breakfast!

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  1. I would then want to indulge in a lovely spa day at ‘The Greenway Hotel and Spa’ in Cheltenham. Having a hot stone massage (never had one, always wanted to try it!) splash around in the pool and relax in the hot tub, maybe with a cheeky glass of prosecco! Have a light lunch before relaxing in the shower and not having to rush or dash out to imaginary cries!
  1. Then I would want to go to ‘All Bar One’ in Montpellier for their tapas plates and a couple (yes a couple!) of cocktails! My absolute favourite ‘Porn Star Martini’ (all I know is that it is yummy and comes with a prosecco shot!) and an ‘Absolut Raspberry Cosmo’ or a ‘Mojito’. Naughty and delicious! Being a breastfeeding Mum I haven’t had a cocktail in well over a year at this point!!

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  1. Finally I would like to go home to my husband, pour a bowl of Butterkist sweet and salted popcorn, curl up in front of the telly and watch an entire film together! Oh the novelty! We have part watched a few, so finishing one would be fantastic! I know, when I dream, I dream big!

I would never wish my son away, and I love being a Mum; but sometimes it’s nice to imagine a day to myself and what I would do! It is a little selfish I know, however it keeps my brain entertained in the depths of the night as I fight sleep and rock my poorly boy to sleep.

What would you do on your imaginary day off? What simple luxuries do you miss?

As I started with Ferris Bueller, I will end with him too – his words to live by:“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Linking up with #TheWishlistLinky

Wishlist linky

Decorating Drawers To Suit a Room

I love a trip to Ikea, there is always something I want to buy! Or need to buy (at least that’s what I tell my husband!) They have so many great items, but some might not exactly suit your needs.If you want to lose yourself for a few hours take a look at the Ikea Hackers website – people have done amazing things with various bits of furniture from Ikea! I personally wanted to have a set of drawers in the ensuite which would match the bedroom colour I wanted. I wanted somewhere to put my make up and various things that cluttered the sides. I found the Moppe mini chest of drawers and thought they would be perfect!

I really wanted to have a soothing colour in the bedroom, and fell in love with the duck egg colours in Laura Ashley. The two sets of drawers I had chosen were small, so I knew I only needed a little paint. I bought the tester pots at Laura Ashley for duck egg and light duck egg; tester pots are a perfect size and do not cost a lot. There are so many varieties at DIY stores that you can find a colour to suit your needs/mood! Next I asked for some duck egg wall paper cut offs from the duck egg range at Laura Ashley, although again you can ask for cut offs at DIY stores to suit your design. Best of all cut offs are free!!

I then painted the drawers inside and out, everywhere apart from the front of the drawers. I painted one set light duck egg and the second set just duck egg. The tester pots were the perfect amount of paint! I then made sure I had enough wall paper cut off to cover the drawer fronts. I measured up to make sure the pattern would line up when the drawers were in place. I carefully cut out the drawer front shapes; you could use either a craft knife or a sharp pair of scissors, I used scissors. When this is done I mixed PVA glue with a bit of water and attached the wall paper to the drawer fronts. I left it all 24 hours to dry. Once dry I then varnished it all and left it a further 24 hour to dry again. I was thrilled with the finished product! All I had to do then was convince my husband that we needed to redecorate our bedroom!!

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Pregnancy, PGP/SPD and further complications!

I actually knew I was pregnant before I knew I was pregnant! I have hypothyroidism and so became very tired, worn down and muddled, which is how I normally feel if my TSH and T4 levels are not quite right! On discussion with my Doctor he felt that my womb was slightly enlarged, but the doppler only reveled my own heartbeat. I had no idea, but I was in fact pregnant with my gorgeous boy – he was just a collection of cells at that point though! My levothyroxine medication was altered and I felt fine again, then over the moon when a pregnancy test showed we were going to grow as a family!

The early weeks were all full of excitement as it was a secret just for us……..ok that secret lasted all of about 4 hours. I’m not even joking, my husband could not keep his mouth shut!! He had wanted to keep it secret until the 12 week scan, but in reality we went to my parents for dinner the day we found out and I went to the toilet. I came back to a guilty looking husband who told me to tell my Mum as he had just told my Dad!!! He told anyone who would listen at this point! He was a little over excited about being a Dad himself! It was all magical, watching this app telling me how big he was (he was known as little seed at this point). The first scan went fine, apart from me having drunk to much and having to empty my bladder, but “just a bit”?! Seriously hard thing to do! At around 15 weeks though I was getting a lot of hip and groin pain. It hurt to walk, it hurt to sit, I could hardly move in bed. I felt really sad and just uncomfortable all the time. This made my role as a Key Stage 2 class teacher an incredibly hard job to do as I was constantly stood or walking around. I saw my midwife who told my to see the physiotherapist. I went to the hospital to see the physiotherapist who gave me a band to wear below my bump and over my hips; they diagnosed it as PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain) also known as SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction). My younger sister had had it in her pregnancies, so I understood that the pain was due to my pelvis relaxing a little too much from the pregnancy hormones.

Getting in and out of bed never got any easier for me; bedtime was hard so I wasn’t resting well at all. By the third trimester I was in a lot of pain and my movement had become incredibly limited. I had seen the physiotherapist for another band the next size up, as my bump was very large! My midwives kept a close eye on me, they had some concerns about my high blood pressure and fast pulse rate towards the end of the third trimester. I was in and out of hospital as further tests were performed. At one point, after waking with dizziness and not being able to catch my breath, the on call Doctor at my surgery sent me straight to A&E because she was concerned I had a Pulmonary Embolism. I had several blood pressure and pulse tests (all remained high), I had 3 ECG scans (fun times!) an X Ray, blood tests (I actually don’t know what for) and was sent to the maternity unit for further examinations of my baby. They decided to rule out a P.E. and I was discharged. I had been doing yoga throughout my second and third trimester and was trying to walk daily, but could only walk short distances. I had seen a consultant about my hypothyroidism and my Factor V Leiden and mentioned the PGP pain, but had been signed off. He had decided I was low risk for any issues (including clotting) and that all I would need was 2 weeks of Fragmin injections after the birth, if I chose to – they were optional. I felt relieved that I was ok…..even though I didn’t feel ok.

By the end I really did feel like a whale that needed returning to the ocean! I was more comfortable in water and could move more freely. I loved baths, but getting in and out would practically reduce me to tears. The hardest was getting my left leg over the edge. Then lucky old me I got to be two weeks late! No matter how many old wives tales I tried, how much ball bouncing, yoga moves, walking (ok limited), I even had curry, but he just would not budge! Then the actual birth and aftermath is another story!

After my treatment for the DVT the consultant asked me about the PGP/SPD I mentioned to her before. She asked when it began and when I said 15 weeks pregnant her response was “that’s a bit to early to be PGP”. In hindsight (which is always 20/20) something a lot more sinister was happening, and if I was in that position again I would be demanding more tests (particularly scans of my deep veins!) until the reason for all the pain and high blood pressure was discovered.The trouble is you put your trust in people, but they might not always have it right. If you ever think anything is not right, just keep pushing – you know your body better than anyone else.

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My view by the end! Look no feet!!

Cosatto Giggle Travel System

When I was about 6 months pregnant I started getting anxious about choosing a pram and car seat for my baby. I had plenty of time (PLENTY of time thanks to being two weeks late!) but I wanted to make sure I got something that I could use easily and that I would love. I had had issues in the past putting my nieces pushchairs up and down; quite honestly it looked like a sketch from the Chuckle Brothers. It was embarrassing and no matter how many times they showed me and how easy they made it look I just couldn’t get it. So this time I wanted something super easy and something that both me and my husband could use. After looking at some in Mothercare I decided that a Travel System was right for me; this is where you get the base, pram top, push chair top and a car seat. I fell in love with the Cosatto Giggle Travel System.

Cosatto’s tag line is “baby stuff with personality” and boy is that true! They are just beautiful! The system is easy, two push buttons on the sides to push in and then lift up and take off the top so you can swap it for which ever one you want. Then you literally drop the new top, such as the car seat, into place and they click in. Beautiful, simple and so quick! The handle can be moved into different positions (up and down) with two buttons on the sides, so it can suit me or my husband (or anyone else who might want to use it!) When colapsing the base down you lift up to tabs inside the side bars and push a red button in and it goes straight down, and to put up you just pull the handle up with foot on the bottom until it clicks into place – easy!

The best part about the Giggle Travel System is that it comes in such amazing colours and patterns. We did not know the gender of our baby when we were choosing so we wanted something that was bright and colourful and would suit any baby! My husband actually got involved and he fell in love with the Pixelate design, it is just so beautiful and I was happy for him to be involved. I get so many positive comments about my Travel System when out and about; it makes people smile and brightens their day. I have never had any problems putting it up and down myself, it is light and easy to handle. 6 months on I still absolutely love it! I would love to have one of the beautiful car seats when my son is big enough for it; their 5 point anti escape system can only be a good thing!!

Cosatto are currently running a competition on Instagram with @mummypiggles where you can win one of their car seats. Just share the image on your own Instagram page with #cosattogiveaway and like @cosatto and @mummypiggles pages. Check out my Instagram for the image and links to their pages. Fabulous competition and amazing prize! Winner is chosen on Friday 8th April 2016 at 8pm. Cosatto just gets better and better!

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