You

sunset-hands-love-woman

My sun, my moon, my stars, my sky;

My who, my what, my when, my why.

 

My east, my west, my north, my south;

My eyes, my cheek, my hands, my mouth.

 

My dreams, my thoughts, my love, my soul.

My wish, my desire, my heart, my whole.

 

Written for my husband x

sunset-hands-love-woman

The Gruffalo

Gruffalo

A Mum took a stroll through the deep, dark wood, she came across a book, and the book was good!

Gruffalo

I thought I would start on a cracking book! If you are just starting your collection of picture books to share with your child, I have to massively recommend this one! It has been a favourite of my nieces and the classes I’ve taught. Julia Donaldson’s knack for creating clever rhyming books is fantastic, this one in particular has a wonderful story line which has children wanting to hear it over and over. They are able to join in with the familiar rhyming parts and love it if you create voices for the different characters. Teaming up with Axel Schoffler’s wonderful drawings, this book will be a family favourite.

In this story a mouse goes on a rather interesting journey. He is interrupted several times by characters who would rather like him to come round for food (or be the food!!) Mouse is too clever and finds a way to trick them all…..although in the end Mouse gets a shock himself!

There are plenty of activities you can do based around this story, if you would like to extend the interest. The mouse talks a lot about the Gruffalo’s favourite foods, (scrambled snake – yum, yum!) this lends itself nicely to creating these ‘dishes’ in the kitchen, or coming up with your own recipes the Gruffalo might enjoy! You can also go on a walk looking for the Gruffalo, or create your own monster, using descriptive language to create a terrifying beast. Drawing and painting will bring the new character to life.

gruff

What did you think of the Gruffalo? What activities would you want to do? Which is your favourite children’s book?

About the Book – Instructions For a Heatwave

Maggie O'Farrell

Maggie O'Farrell

Welcome to the first my first Book Club. I have long wanted to be part of a book club, so thought maybe I should just start my own! Every month I will share which book we are going to read, if it goes well I will publish a list of 12 books that I will be reading in 2017 and hope that you will continue to join me! I will post my thoughts on the book in the last week of the month and invite you to comment with what your thoughts were. I will endeavour to publish the book for the next month the same week, so that there is time to purchase or borrow a copy.

I thought I would start off with one of my favourite authors, Maggie O’Farrell. I have read and really enjoyed ‘After You’d Gone’, ‘The Distance Between Us’, ‘The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox’ and ‘The Hand That First Held Mine’. I would recommend all of them. She is a fantastic author and I always feel fully engaged with her stories.

This book was published in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Costa Book awards the same year. The synopsis for the book is as follows:

It’s July 1976. In London, it hasn’t rained for months, gardens are filled with aphids, water comes from a standpipe, and Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he’s going round the corner to buy a newspaper. He doesn’t come back. The search for Robert brings Gretta’s children – two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce – back home, each with different ideas as to where their father might have gone. None of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation that even now she cannot share.

I am really excited to get stuck into this book! I purchased my copy from my local charity shop, but they are available new or secondhand from Amazon. You can also pick it up for the Kindle there if that is your preferred reading method!

I will write my thoughts for this book in a post on Sunday 28th August, am looking forward to hearing your thoughts and sharing the book with you!

Happy reading 🙂 x

Family Fun in the Forest of Dean

IMG_20160725_091634

This year is full of big birthdays in my family and we are celebrating with lots of big family holidays and breaks. It is exciting! Last weekend was the first celebration and for it we didn’t venture too far, but far enough to feel like a break, all the way to Forest Holidays. I was so excited! After packing all the “essentials” for travelling with a 9 month old, the car was full to bursting. Seriously. Super full. Those days of throwing in a toothbrush and a pair of pants for the weekend are long gone!! Even with such an overly full car, we still managed to forget things! Still, I digress! We all jumped (try tetris style squeezed ourselves round, next to, on top of, inside of, etc etc) into the car, and headed off to the Forest, Sat Nav on to guide us there.

We found it no problem, and thankfully the boy slept the whole way! It immediately seemed so relaxing and we were surrounded by trees. Just what we wanted! We were staying in one of the cabins, the Luxury Family Treehouse. This cabin has an additional ensuite room away from the main body of the house. It was beautiful and had lots of space. We had arrived first, so after a mad dash round, we chose the upstairs bedroom and began to set up shop! Not long after the rest of our family arrived, unpacked and all chose rooms. All in there was 7 adults, 2 teens, 1 tween and a baby. You would think that it was going to be a squeeze, particularly as my lovely Mother in Law brought enough food to feed a small army!! It wasn’t though, it felt big and spacious. The cabins are scattered around a field surrounded by the woods; ours faced directly onto the woods which gave us a great view from our bedroom, through the huge window.

We had paid for the entertainment package, which meant that there was a wide selection of films we could watch too. I finally got to watch ‘Inside Out’ which was brilliant! Having so many members of family round meant that the little man was not short of people to play with and have cuddles with. It also meant that me and the husband got a break! It had been such a long time since we watched a film together, we really enjoyed ourselves!! The lounge had enough space for everyone to sit comfortably and was even centre stage to some amazing performances for family charades! Highlights being L’s reenactment of ‘Jurassic world’, C’s epic acting for ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ and the husband actually having a go for ‘Top Gun’. Such a funny evening! We even moved to the large kitchen table to have a girls vs boys game of Pictionary! (The guys thought I was just being cruel when I had time to draw a mermaid before even drawing the crab my team had to guess! But I think they were sore losers!! Haha!)

The outside area was wonderful too, a giant table which could fit us all round, space to BBQ and most importantly a lovely hot tub which could fit lots of us! (Think we counted 8 in at one point!!) When we had first arrived the hot tub was empty, but they were quick to come over and fix it for us. The hot tub was definitely worth having, we all enjoyed some time in there! (Apart from the little man!) I even managed to sit in the hot tub for quite some time with a drink of fizzy pink wine! I did remember to use a plastic glass! It was so relaxing, like being at a spa! Really nice both in the summer and in the winter!……..Man I wish I was there now with my lovely Gin cocktail (my in laws make a mean cocktail!!) surrounded by the nature; trees, flowers, squirrels – yes very friendly squirrels too!

The weekend was filled with food too! I’d baked a birthday cake (only had a small disaster on the way there) and some of my awesome cookie bowls with just some normal cookies. My MIL had organised some amazing meals and yummy snacks and my sister in law had brought loads of chocolate (an absolute must to accompany Charades, Pictionary, conversations, drinking, sitting, well, most activities really!) The kitchen has the basics you need, so if you plan on making anything when you’re there (such as pizza bases – K’s pizzas were amazing!) you need to bring additional tools with you. Although, the wine bottle rolling pin did the job superbly!

Although some of the family went out on walks to explore the area, I only did a short walk with the little man to get him to sleep (I was battling a virus that made me feel like I’d been hit by a bus, although I didn’t realise that’s what it was at the time!!) There are endless walks and bike rides to do, also  Go Ape, pottery, a playground, the list is long! You can even get in house spa treatments, so they come to you!!! I honestly think you could go back every year and still have plenty to do! Fortunately I’m going back again for two more visits in the next year, so I will strive to try out some of the other things and get a bit further than the hot tub this time!! It was an amazing break and was a fantastic place to spend time with family! I would really recommend going and think it’s perfect for a large family or group holiday!

Have you been to Forest Holidays? What did you like most about it? Are there any other holiday’s you’ve done with a large family group? Where would you recommend going?

 

Hot Pink Wellingtons

First Trip Out as Mum

pexels-photo-110874

Having had a nightmare shopping trip today with my boy, I was reminded of our first ever trip out!! I don’t mean as a family, when there are two of you with one little baby. It’s full of anxiety, yes, but there are two of you! Four hands for only one baby! Any disaster you can overcome together quickly!! I’m talking about the first solo trip out. My husband went back to work after two weeks off when our son was born. I can’t deny it, I cried at this, I just had no idea how I could look after such a precious, small, delicate being on my own! I was utterly convinced I would break him in some way…you can’t exactly buy a new one! Still, after a couple of weeks at home getting to grips with how to do it on my own, I felt I was ready for a trip out. I wanted it to be a safe one, so I chose to go to my local Sling meet to check how to do my wrap sling!

Seems simple right? So I managed to sort the changing bag (I even put two changes of clothes in) had lots of nappies, muslin’s, some toys. I got the boy safely into the car seat having bundled him up (it was November by then after all!) Got him to the car, strapped him in, remembered the sling, my bag, change for the car park, I was dressed in vaguely matching clothes – I know, it was going amazingly well!! I drove, safely, slowly, carefully there and the boy fell asleep in the seat…..perfect! I parked very close to a ticket machine so I could get a ticket with the little man in the car next to me (again, November, so wind, rain, generally freezing conditions) I got the ticket for an hour and a half and sat back in the driver’s seat. Everything was going swimmingly, super mum!! I was so sure I could do it on my own at this point.

Then eyes open and the little man starts screaming and crying full volume, like a crazed banshee. He’s hungry. Ok, not a problem, it’s a bit to walk to get to the sling meeting, and so I make the choice to feed him in the car so he settles and I can hold him close as I walk to the meeting in these horrid conditions. Feeding is going well, the car is warm and dry, so all is good. I cover myself up and use one of the million muslin’s to burp him. Oh, he threw up, down himself and down me………ok, not a problem, I am a bit flustered, but can deal with this. I mop him up and start mopping myself up. He pulls a funny face, goes slightly pink, and the most horrendous sound comes from the other end…….then the smell follows. Ok, definitely getting worse, but I can deal with this. I’ll change him on the back seat, then we can go.

I get us safely into the back seat and realise that the nappy has had containment failure…..oh god, no! In the warm car I strip him down to nothing. A nappy bag full of basically clothing that needs burning at this point, and another full of the nappy and about a million wipes. The boy is wiggling away smiling at me. An aroma fills the car. I am panicking now, was this the right choice? A malevolent storm appears to be happening outside and I am in the backseat of my little Fiat Panda with a naked baby. What am I doing? How did we get here? I smell of sick and I’m sure there is poo smeared on me somewhere. At this point I have paid for about 50 minutes of parking just to try and deal with sick and poo.

I manage to wrestle a nappy on him, find the new clothes, put them on in some kind of vague order (with my wriggling boy, it has always felt like I was dressing an octopus!) I finally bundle him in something warm, get our stuff together and an hour after I arrived I manage to actually leave the car park. The meeting went well I think, although I was very distracted and nearly missed out on having the guidance I had come for as I was so late and he needed feeding two more times. I was finally taught how to put him in a sling properly just before everyone packed up and left!

I braved the weather again with what felt like enough bags and belongings for a weekend away, successfully rehousing the baby in his car seat and getting into my seat just as the ticket ran out. So, as I drove away, poo and sick still smelling out my car, a soggy sling (where I had unknowingly dragged it across the ground) a sick stain down my cardigan which was now producing a delightful stench, and having paid for the privilege of primarily sitting in my car, I concluded that maybe I had tried a bit too soon!! The boy fell asleep, blissfully unaware of all the chaos he had caused. I seriously questioned my ability to parent at all, and felt bedraggled and completely overwhelmed.

We’ve had our fair share of disasters since then too! Parenting, just isn’t parenting without some disaster tales! Nothing is quite like the first one though! What was your first solo trip like? Or what has been your worse baby disaster?

pexels-photo-110874

Sharing theBlogLove200x142_zpsebyhrilw

Swimsuit Shopping With a Baby

IMG_20160721_122254

So this week it has been scorching hot.  It was the hottest day of the year on Tuesday and everyone was getting out in their bikini’s, or in some cases just stripping to their underwear. People were feeling the heat in the cities, particularly on trains or on the tube. It was unbearable and everyone was just trying to find a way to stay cool. I decided to get into my swimsuit, which, even though it is 9 months since I had my boy,  is still a maternity suit. After several inappropriate “flashing” moments I realised, not only was I grateful to be at home where no one could see me, but actually the suit was no longer cutting the mustard!

Today I headed to my favourite shop in the world! As I am a larger chested woman, I need to buy my bras and swimming gear (and if I could afford it my entire wardrobe) at Bravissimo. I was so thrilled when they opened a shop in Cheltenham, makes my life so much easier! You can order online, but I needed it for the weekend, and wanted to make sure I was in the right size. I bundled the boy in the car and headed over. Despite him falling asleep in the car, he was wide awake for our visit in there (how?!) After browsing all the lovely bras and bikini’s, I decided to find a swimsuit I would like! I’m still not body confident, or even vaguely near the size I was before I had the boy, so I felt a swimsuit would make me feel the happiest! Not worrying about a tankini wriggling up and revealing my delightful stretchmarks! The shop assistance were lovely and helped me find a suit in what I thought was my size. They put me in a large changing room so I could fit my pram in too. The boy was getting fidgety and starting to tell me he’d had enough. So I let him out to crawl around and explore a bit. A win I thought….

The lovely sales assistant came back and agreed with me, that actually….it was too small (sigh!) So she went to get me a range of different back and cup sizes. At this point as I am in a swimsuit, with my knickers hanging out the sides, waiting for a different costume to come, the boy starts to get upset. He really isn’t into shopping, in any form! The lady returns and I try a bigger back size (36) and the same cup size (J), the boy is crawling around the floor crying and shouting and I have to try and see if it fits in between the moments of picking him up and hushing him. The sales assistant came back and agreed that the back size going up has just made the material loose around the sides and not helped cup wise. I apologised profusely for my crying boy, she just smiled and said it was absolutely fine and not to worry (oh thank goodness!) I try the last swimsuit on (I only tried on 3!!) and the back size was better (34) and the cup size fitted perfectly (K!) She patiently returned on more time into the room of the screaming child and managed to talk to me and did not go running for the hills! She said it was a lovely shape and fitted perfectly (oh I felt great when she said that!)

So swimsuit decided, I just needed to get dressed. I had to put the boy into his pram to just put my clothes on. I was not wearing anything elaborate and just needed a minute. The longest minute of my life!! Que the most mental breakdown I’ve ever heard him have…..oh the embarrassment! I threw my clothes on, panicking, sweating now, pink cheeked with the shame, fearful of what others would be thinking. I was right next to him, talking to him, but he would not stop! Bright red, tears, snot, dribble, looking at me like I had done a massive injustice to him! Oh the mummy guilt. I scooped him up and hoped I’d remembered to put everything on, well I was leaving there and then, half naked or not!! I did manage to pay for my gorgeous new suit, one handed, wrestling a very sad boy. I plonked the bag in the pram and carried him back to the car. So ended my incredibly short shopping trip, stressed, tired, hot, embarrassed, frustrated, he screamed and cried almost the whole way home. He fell asleep literally round the corner from home!

It did remind me of the first time I ever tried to take him out. But despite the chaos, I managed to get a beautiful new swimsuit, that actually fits! The sales assistants were lovely, even though they probably breathed a sigh of relief when we left!! Bravissimo is expensive, but I firmly believe it is worth the price! I have not had a bad experience there. Despite my rather large chest size, I still have managed to get something beautiful! Bring on more summer sun, swimming pools and good times! When I stop breastfeeding I think a solo trip to Bravissimo for some beautiful new bras will be in order!! (Is it too early for a gin?! Phew!!)

Which shops are your favourite? How do you get on shopping with small people?

Activities for Little Hands

There are times when you need to provide activities for little hands to keep busy. Long car journeys, bus journeys, waiting in restaurants and coffee shops, listening to speeches at weddings, are all times that you wonder how your young child will behave and how to keep them entertained. In the modern age there are many options of phones and tablets with hundreds of games you can access, but they can be noisy, children can get frustrated or need support playing them and they aren’t always appropriate for the surroundings. Sometimes you just want to keep them amused without the use of a screen and you are in a space they cannot run around. You can find ideas on Pinterest for creating ‘busy bags’ which are little activities you can create to keep them busy; matching games, sorting games, patterns, counting games – the list goes on. They are fantastic, and you can even make them yourself. Trouble is, if you’re anything like me, you can be full of good intentions, but life gets in the way! If only there was someone else who could create these bags and keep the small people happy! In steps Jhodi with her new company ‘Little Hands Activities’.

Jhodi left work to have her son 2 years ago. After ending up in coffee shops, on trains and even at weddings, she was looking for ways of keeping him busy, but did not want it to revolve around the iPad. After trying to take out small puzzles, she decided to find out if there were other activities she could use. She then started creating reusable activities to keep her son busy. Jhodi has set up an online shop (www.littlehandsactivities) where her busy bags can be purchased to keep young children happy for the reasonable price of £3.75 or £2.50 for a smaller bags, plus postage and packaging.

IMG_20160716_100019

My beautiful nieces often have long car journey’s to go on, and helped me test out some of these bags from ‘Little Hands Activities’. We tried the shape matching lollypop sticks, creating shapes and the foam garland busy bags. The activities are safely kept in ziplock bags which can easily fit into changing bag, handbags or even larger coat pockets. The girls got stuck in straight away choosing the bags they wanted to try. They read the instructions that were included (for smaller children they are there for the adults to read and explain) there are pictures on the geometric shapes one which are easy to understand and for small children to follow.

My gorgeous niece A is 7 years old, she chose the garland straight away. She discussed how it worked, when she had made one before, the colours she liked. The discussion which came from her creating was lovely. She wanted to share what she was doing with me and her sister, it was lovely to be involved with what she was doing. My wonderful niece E is 5 years old, she chose the geometric shapes immediately. She discussed all the shapes she knew from school, and created the shapes on the cards. What was lovely was seeing how they moved the activity on too – niece A created more complicated shapes and we even got on to discussing regular and irregular shapes! All this from one tiny bag! They played with all three bags, taking it in turns, playing beautifully together! They were great, and I think certainly worth the price. The girls found it hard to choose a favourite, but niece A liked the garland bag best and niece E liked the shape matching activity best. They asked if they could take them on their next long car journey, which I think is a great result!

Jhodi is currently prototyping another range of activities with her son; colour recognition with pegs, sorting game and felt picture game, which all should be available in her shop in the autumn if not before. I look forward to seeing these ones and any other busy bags Jhodi makes in future!

IMG_20160716_112044

Disclosure: I was sent this product free of charge but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

10 Things I Learnt About Having a New Baby

As excited as I was about being a mum, I was also very nervous about meeting my baby as I wasn’t sure I would know what to do! In the days running up to my due date I suddenly realised that as much reading as I had done on being pregnant and what to expect with that, I hadn’t actually read up on what came next! I was busy being a teacher and then busy organising my house for the new baby, but all of a sudden my due date was upon me and I knew nothing! I quickly got googling, but before I knew it (ok, well 2 weeks later!!) my little boy had arrived! There is a variety of advice available, but these are my top 10 things I learnt about a new baby:

  1. You know best. You will learn all the different noises and cries, and if you want to then welcome advice from others. But just remember, at the end of the day people will give you conflicting advice, it is your baby so feel free to do it your way!
  2. All babies are different. I am noticing this one more and more as they get older. My friends baby was born the exact same day (two hours later) than my boy. They are now doing completely different things; my boy is now crawling and trying to walk, but her baby is waving and clapping! Neither is “behind” they are just doing what they are more interested in first! Same when they are very small! They will do things their own way! Try not to compare or panic!
  3. A routine in the early days/weeks (in my case months) is not essential. I am not a routine try of person I am discovering! In the early days if you try and force a strict routine and don’t allow yourself to leave it, you will go mad! Those first few weeks baby is learning what day and night is! I’m not saying you should never do a routine, and feel free to introduce one when you’re ready, but make sure baby is ready too! If they still think the middle of the night is the middle of the day, you won’t get far! I’m fond of ‘vague routines’ so things we do, like bath before bed. The timing, however, is a lot more flexible!
  4. They will poo on you at some point. Whether that is in the bath (happened to a friend and also my husband; seriously I could barely help for laughing!) or when you’re changing them (for me it was 10 days after he was born, went all over my nightie, compression stockings, arms, legs, bed, changing mat, babies clothes; my husband could barely help for laughing!)
  5. You will worry. Having all this responsibility is massive, and something you have to adjust to. I can’t imagine anyone going home and thinking – yeah, whatever, I’ve got this! I worried about driving him home, about taking him out in his pram, about whether that was a normal breathing pattern, about if he was just asleep. You name it, I worried about it! You hit the baby blues too, and this just amplifies things. Baby blues should only last a couple of weeks, at your 6 week check if you are still struggling, then please tell your GP.
  6. Sleep deprivation is hideous torture. Once your baby has settled a bit, they will begin to test your ability to function on as little sleep as possible (if you do have a miracle baby that has never caused you any sleep issues, then just don’t be smug!) I found working out a game plan with my husband helped; it does start to feel you two verses them, but just laugh about that (or else you may cry!) We had nights of having a couple of hours sleep each, literally taking it in turns being downstairs with our boy! We had nights where he would only sleep on us, not in his cot or anywhere else. They will test you, and once it is better (and it will get better, I promise!) they will remind you of those days periodically when they are full of cold and you will have to remember what strategies you did before!!
  7. Laughter is the best medicine! Having a baby is a big change, and you will not get it right first time! It is a learning journey, it’s a new role you have to learn and the induction process is pretty full on! Laugh as often and as much as you can! Babies are funny! Laugh with your partner, laughter will release endorphins (or “dolphins” as a very witty professor of mine used to say!) into your brain and make you feel happier! Sometimes I would laugh for ages at essentially nothing……did I mention the sleep deprivation?! Best of all, when you are ready, begin to find some mummy friends you can laugh with!
  8. It’s okay to say no to visitors. Just because they want to come, does not mean they HAVE to come round. Take your time to adjust to being a new little family! You will be tired and having people around for hours and hours is not what you need. My lovely neighbours put a card through the door instead of ringing the bell, they had made us a meal which was in Tupperware outside the front door. It was amazing, and so so helpful! This is the best kind of “guest” in the beginning!! I’m not saying don’t have anyone, if there are family members who want to come and be helpful for an hour and you want to see them, then by all means! Just allow yourself some time to just be!
  9. You will have bought things you don’t need! The nesting phase at the end of pregnancy is just mind boggling! And boy, don’t advertising agencies know this! You are pumped full of hormones and just want what is best for your baby! We’ve all been there, thinking “this will make it all easier”, but nothing actually does! I bought a nappy bin, well, my husband did! It has been useful at times, particularly when my mobility was poor, but as time has gone on and my mobility has increased, this is an item I really probably didn’t need!! The funniest one is one of my mummy friends nearly bought a wipe warmer at the end of her pregnancy! She laughs about that now!! I didn’t even know they existed! Laugh with your mummy friends about these things!
  10. Your life will never be the same again. It just won’t. The longest days, the shortest nights, the messiest house, the crying (you and them!), the fuzzy mummy brain, the list goes one. But you would not change it for the world! For every down there is an up, and they are sky high I promise you. The first smile, the little feet, the first giggle, the cuddles, the baby smell, the list also goes on!! This little being is just a whole new world, and the world you thought you knew is just changed and you can see it a completely different way. Enjoy the journey, enjoy each other. Each day is such a precious gift!

What did you learn about having a new baby? What advice would you pass on? Is there something you couldn’t have done without? What would have made your life easier knowing before?

IMG_20160627_102610

Sharing theBlogLove200x142_zpsebyhrilw

Postpartum DVT discovery and diagnosis

The next step in my journey. This gets increasingly hard to write about and talk about. I have put it off for a while, but there is no avoiding it. It happened. It was Monday 14th December 2015 and my boy had just turned 2 months old when I started getting a lot of pain shooting down my left leg. There had been some warning signs before that I didn’t understand; if I knelt down my left leg would go quickly to pins and needles, but I thought it was just how I had been leaning on it. The pain seemed to start in my lower back and was all down my leg, ending in my foot. I told myself I’d just got a trapped nerve and tried to carry on. I was most comfortable lying on my back with my leg at a 90 degree angle onto a chair. I struggled on until the Friday, when I saw my Mother in Law, who was staying for the weekend near us. She could immediately see the pain in my face and was concerned something was wrong and that I needed to see a Doctor. I didn’t want to cause a fuss, but I did ring out of hours who told me all they could do would be to give me some slightly stronger painkillers for the pain, but I couldn’t breastfeed on them, so I declined.

On the Sunday morning I woke with a swollen leg and panicked that there was something seriously wrong, that there was a clot in my leg. I called out of hours again and got an appointment with a Doctor at the hospital. I went down, at this point unable to sit comfortably and unable to weight bare. Both me and the husband asked repeatedly if this could be a clot. We were told that it was not, it was just sciatica, and that I needed to take some stronger painkillers until it passed. The solid muscles she said were due to trapped nerves. We discussed breastfeeding, and I decided only to take what I could to feed the boy, as for me, it was very important. I couldn’t walk to the car, I only just made it out the door, and then stood crying until my husband brought the car to me. Although I was in so much pain, I was relieved it was nothing serious. I saw my family for a pre-Christmas party, but couldn’t move much and rested with my leg up, my family bringing the boy to me when he needed feeding. By the evening my leg was still swollen and I sent my family a picture; they were immediately seriously concerned. The next day was the Monday before Christmas and I could not get out of bed. I could only rest full of painkillers and with my leg at a 90 degree angle. My husband was looking after me, the boy and the house, he was also worrying.

I got another appointment at the hospital with out of hours, but this time my Mum came with me. I was dropped at the door, could barely walk in there, couldn’t weight bare and couldn’t sit. I cried walking into the room and this Doctor took one look at my leg and confirmed this was a DVT. She measured my leg and confirmed it was swollen. I was passed to A&E, where I was for the rest of the day. My husband brought me the breast pump, which I had to do 3 times whilst I waited. The boy was put onto formula at this point, because I just wasn’t there. I was admitted, given a private room so I could feed the boy, when he was in and I could. I was given, paracetamol and ibuprofen for the pain. It didn’t help much. I was given an ultrasound and CT scan. These confirmed I did have a DVT. At this point they said that there was a clot in my calf, behind my knee, in my thigh and in my groin. I was given fragmin and told to take it for two weeks until I could have an appointment with a vascular consultant. I was discharged Just before Christmas Eve with 5 fragmin injections, two left handed crutches, still in pain and unable to walk. On Christmas Eve my Mum arranged for me to have a telephone appointment with my GP for more fragmin injections. I told him what had happened and was told under no circumstances to take ibuprofen and fragmin together. He prescribed a different painkiller.

Come the morning it was Christmas Day, a day of celebration and joy. I was spending it with my family at my sister’s house. We had intended to walk over, but instead my parents picked us up. I cried on the way to the car, in the car, trying to get to my sister’s door and until I was on the sofa. I can barely remember the day. My boy’s first Christmas is just a blur. I had to get help to the toilet, help to eat because I could no longer sit. My nieces spent the day writing me get well soon cards. At this point my brother in law said I should probably have compression stockings on. He had some from when he had been in hospital, my Mum and sister battled to get them on me as I cried and yelped in pain. Again, scaring my nieces! Once home, I was put on the sofa. My husband blew up an airbed and the three of us slept downstairs.

The next morning I was having chest pains and so my Mum came over, I rang out of hours and they said someone would call me back in 8 hours. My Mum was furious and rang them back, actually speaking to a Doctor. At this point I was crying saying no one believed me. An ambulance was called for me. I had lovely paramedics. I was given gas and air and helped to the ambulance, where I was put on the bed and given more gas and air!! After a lot of hours in A&E I was admitted again. I was given morphine for the pain. I was still being made to walk to the toilet, even though I could barely walk. I was asked to stand for an x-ray, it caused me so much pain that had to be given more morphine and taken down in bed for my CT scan. I was sick afterwards, I just felt humiliated. They had found the pulmonary embolism. I had two cannulas in my arms and was pumping milk (just for dumping as the medication meant the boy couldn’t have it) with the help of my Mum. It was pretty cosy, but I’m so glad she helped me do it!

I got transferred by ambulance to another local hospital where the vascular consultants were. Once there I was put in a bed and tilted with my legs in the air. It was a bed that moved (so weird!) to prevent bedsores. Here I was kept on the morphine and a specialist came to see me that evening and explained that it was not four clots, but one long one running from my calf all the way up to my abdomen. She explained that I needed treatment the next day because it was time sensitive. The treatment was thrombolysis. This would involve a tube going into the deep vein from behind my knee and running up as far as my belly button. A clot busting drug would be pumped into my vein to break it down as much as possible. It came at the risk of strokes and heart attacks if any of the clot broke off and went wandering. But it was the treatment I needed. I was scared, my family were scared and I missed my boy more than words can say. Part of me was missing, but I couldn’t hold him, I couldn’t feed him, I couldn’t do anything for him. At this point I honestly thought I would not see him grow up. I did not think I would see my house again. I did not think I would have time with my husband again. These were dark and scary days.

This is quite a factual post. It’s hard to share the pain, the fear and uncertainty that I was going through. I would not wish this on any new mum. But it is something that can happen. I’ll save the treatment and then the recovery for another day. It’s a painful chapter to relive, but I hope once I have finished it can help someone else spot the signs, or not feel alone through their own journey.

IMG_1609

The swelling in my left leg can be seen clearly here.

 

Sharing theBlogLove200x142_zpsebyhrilw

Keeping Children Safe In A Crowd

I have various different blogs and pages I now follow that constantly pop up on my Twitter and Facebook feeds (I could spend days/weeks/years reading it all!) It is feeling fantastic, like I am getting fully involved in the blogging world (*waves at fellow bloggers*) I love seeing what others are up to, pictures that make them smile, and causes that really matter to them! Huffington post is a page that pops up a lot on these feeds and often has great content. One that popped up today for me was about keeping children safe in a crowd when out and about in the holidays. It has some super tips from the California Police department; such as taking a picture of your child on the day so you know what clothes they are wearing, and writing your phone number on them!

Although this isn’t an issue for me right now……the boy has started crawling, literally today! (Yay!) But I think it will be a while before I have to worry about him walking off in a crowd. I do think about this a lot, because I was that child! I was the one my poor mother had to keep getting announcements put out across the whole store. I can vividly remember being a small child and being in my own world, when I remembered I should be holding someone’s hand I put it up to the nearest adult. It was not my mother, but a perfect stranger! I had no idea where she was (probably locating a security guard or putting out yet another announcement for me!) I was a pest at hiding underneath clothes racks too, I thought it was great fun! The strangest game I would play would be to go and find my “real family” (umm, store mannequins to you and me) My family STILL laugh about that! I think every trip must have been filled with anxiety about whether or not I would still be there 5 seconds later!! I think I’ve got better…….although, my husband doesn’t like shopping with me……come to think of it, it is because of my tendency to wander?!  Hmm maybe I never did grow out of it? And I have been known to hide in the wardrobe and jump out to scare my long suffering husband!

Do you have any stories about children wandering off? What safety tips can you advise to others? For adults I’m very pro everyone wearing an “if found return to the pub” sign!

t_pc825 if found please return to the pub_20160407090529