Something Special for Tommy’s

Just before Easter Cora and William were asked to take part in something really special for a charity that is vey close to my heart, one that does such amazing work that one day will help change not only conversations but also the 1 in 4 statistic that haunts you once you become part of that club. A club that you would never choose to be part of and that you can never truly understand unless you have been through it. Cora and William were asked to take part in a video shoot for the wonderful Tommy’s.

Tommy’s for those of you that don’t know are the baby charity funding research into miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and neonatal death. The fundamental reason for the charities existent is to save babies lives, to try and find the resin behind baby loss however it happens to a family. For me as many of you will know that was a miscarriage. I am 1 in 4 and I think that statistic needs to change and I think we need to talk about baby loss in all its forms, because otherwise nothing will change.
Every two years Tommy’s work with Waterbabies to raise money for the charity in an event called The Splashathon, this will be Cora’s 2nd Splashathon and Williams 1st. As many of you know Waterbabies is also very close to my heart. In my current day job, previous roles, hospitals and countries I have looked after children who have drowned or near drowned so for me teaching my two to swim was one of the most important things I could teach them. So as you can imagine this event is one that I feel very strongly about, and in fact I wrote my 1st post almost two years ago about Cora’s first Splashathon.

20160403_100908100_iOS

Cora and William were asked to be part of the filming for the PR video for the Splashathon, the video that will advertise the event to the world, and with it being such an important event to me I had to say yes.

Let me start by telling you how we got involved. Last year I shared my story of miscarriage with Tommy’s for their #miscourage Mother’s Day campaign. I forget now how I got in touch with them, it may have had something to do with a post I wrote about my experience of miscarriage, a post that to date is still the most read piece I have written, (if you haven’t read it and fancy a read it’s titled “I am a mummy of 2 – now 3 I am a mummy of 3”). I am quite happy to share my story I think it’s really important to talk about it, particularly since when it happens to you, you feel so alone, so knowing there are other people out there who have been through something similar can take away some of that loneliness. I was contacted by Tommy’s to ask if Cora and William would like to take part and obviously, I said yes.

So we headed down to the pool where the shoot was to do lots of splashing in the hope that they would get some excellent footage to advertise this brilliant campaign. Peppa Pig was going to be there, she is also a sponsor of the Splashathon and Cora was very excited to meet her. When it came to it though she was scared of her and wouldn’t say hello.

IMG_2188

Once we had seen Peppa we met all the lovely people from Tommy’s as well as the other mummies and babies being filmed. One of whom pointed out that I had put Cora in a rainbow t-shirt, I wish I could claim that I had done it on purpose but I totally hadn’t, but what an appropriate top for her to be wearing for the day.

LIMG_2190IMG_2189

Changed into their happy nappies and William safely cuddled on the poolside with Grandma, Cora and I got into the pool. There was lots of jumping around with all the other babies whilst waiting for our turn to be filmed, I think Cora was the oldest one there and I think William was probably the youngest. Cora did lots of jumping in, independent swimming to the poolside and being swum by me. She did a lot of splashing about too. Cora absolutely loves being in the water and had a great time splashing about. She even got to meet one of the superhero teachers who happened to be helping out.

IMG_3378

IMG_3379IMG_3380

William came in last and I think that they had plenty of footage by then, so he didn’t really do a lot to the camera, they got us to do a bit of splash splashing something that we do in class very early on after being submerged to ensure that they recover properly. He was also submerged by the superhero teacher for a digital swim, but both times he came up the wrong way up. Other than that he also did some swimming in line with the other parents.

IMG_1458

We had a fabulous time at the shoot but unfortunately the only bit of Cora that made the cut was her splashing a little boy in the face (the one with the ball) but nothing else, I am obviously sad about that but we had such a good time, and we think it’s such an important thing to do. William didn’t make the cut either.

I’d like to say a massive thank you to Tommy’s for giving us the opportunity to be part of this, it was a real privilege. Thank you for all the work that you do to help people like me. Splashathon is just around the corner, it won’t be long until the fundraising pages go up. Please if you know anyone that has been through baby loss of any kind, support my two beautiful rainbows by sponsoring them to complete their Splashathon. I want to say thank you in advance for all your donations, as I said before, Tommy’s do an amazing job for people like me, for families like us.

DSCN1592

I am 1 in 4

Thank you to Tommy’s for the photos from the day.

We are going to the Zoo

This week’s big adventure was a trip to ZSL London Zoo. Now we are no strangers to the zoo as we live 15 minutes away from ZSL Whipsnade and I have membership so we can pop there for a couple of hours if we feel like it. London zoo is not a place we have been to very often, in fact I have only taken Cora once before and that was with the lovely Janey and Mimi too.

IMG_2820

London Zoo although big is much more manageable in a day than Whipsnade, it doesn’t have that same sprawled out hillside venue going on. Split into 2 sides either side of the road it is actually pretty well laid out. Easy to get around in the most part, although there is some quite major refurb work going on so it’s actually not as fluid to navigate as normal, there were several points at which we had to double back in ourselves to move on to the next animals. However, that said, we pretty much covered the whole zoo in the time that we were there.

IMG_2818

We started our day with a coffee and an excellently timed carousel ride, allowing me to feed William whilst Janey, Mimi and Cora had a ride in it. In fact, the timing was so perfect he’d started and finished his bottle in the time they were on the carousel, (tbh I am not very good at being in or watching carousels anyhow, I get really bad motion sickness) from the carousel after pacifying the cries of again again particularly from Cora we went to see the penguins .

IMG_2827

The Penguins at London are amazing, they have their enclosure set up so you can see the Penguins under the water which for little people (and grown ups) is hugely exciting. The girls ran backwards and forwards after the penguins squealing with delight until they noticed the steps at the end of the tank. They ran up them to look at the penguins from the surface, there is a big piece of netting at the top of the steps to stop you falling in but also allowing little people the opportunity to see the penguins on the surface.

IMG_2829IMG_2835IMG_2834

Onto the butterfly house which is another firm favourite of Coras, and it is always amazing, full of bright colours and fluttering wings, Cora is always fascinated. The butterfly house at Whipsnade is newer and if I am totally honest is much better than the London version. That said, London’s is still great all the same, and occasionally we are really lucky and a butterfly lands on one of us. It is usually Cora because of the colour of her hair I think, she used to think it was fantastic but right now she hates it. I think it’s magical when it happens but am never quick enough with the camera to get a picture before she’s realised, shrieked, and run off.

IMG_2826

There are (I was going to say several but that is the biggest understatement ever) many statues of animals dotted around the zoo and Cora and Mimi decided that they had to stop, climb and have their photo taken. I think we spent as much time looking at the animal statues as we did looking at the real ones.

IMG_2814IMG_2817IMG_2808
All around the tiger house a bit of a refurb is going on, but amazingly we got to see both tigers. When we got there the female tiger was walking down the tree, there were too many people to get a good shot, but it was a spectacular sight. The male tiger was just chilling on the wall having a sleep, amazing to see.

IMG_2807
To see the giraffes and the zebras you need to go underneath the road through a tunnel a bit like the one that gets you from the car park to the zoo entrance at Whipsnade, it’s quite steep but still manageable with a buggy. It’s worth it though as the giraffes are amazing as always.

IMG_2819

There is a lovely playground within the zoo, not as big as Hullabazoo at Whipsnade but it’s lovely, it’s not very big and I suspect during school holidays it’s not big enough. However, during term time, it’s just the right size and a great place to run off some energy before lunch. Situated just behind the carousel it’s also not that far from the restaurant when you are trying to get them to leave.

IMG_2809

The restaurant in the zoo is lovely, it’s nice and big with a fabulous if not a little bit pricey range of food. It serves a really wide variety of food, from soup and a roll to full blown dinner. The only thing I would say about the choice of food is that there isn’t much for you if you are trying to be good. You pretty much have to bank on the soup not being a cream of something. Having said that the choice for littles is fabulous, with a good choice for lunch boxes and a great variety of hot meals. Irritatingly though they have that whole “water is not included in the children’s drink” choice going on. (Why are we conditioned to think that our children want to drink juice or flavoured milk?).

IMG_2818

We had a fabulous day there it definitely worth a visit.

Cadburys Egg Hunt Hughenden Manor

Last week we met up with our lovely friend Claire and her two beautiful girls for another Easter Egg Hunt, Cadburys are sponsoring the National Trusts Easter egg hunt. Unlike the one at RHS Wisley, this one has to be paid for on top of your entry fee. That is unless you join then and there and pay direct debit. The National Trust have a promotion going at the moment that allows you to go to any National Trust place that is running the Easter egg hunt and do it for free until the 17th April. Which if you did it on the 1st April when the egg hunt began and you went frequently you would have your Easter eggs sorted!

IMG_2305

IMG_2304

10 eggs were dotted round the gardens of the manor and the children had to find them all, write down the letters on each of them and then make a word or phrase. Unlike the RHS one there were no clues, just a walk around the Gardens (or run if you are 2 and that’s pretty much how you travel anywhere!) in the most part it was pretty easy to find them all, although I think there was one that was missed by most people. I think it must have been on a path that ran parallel to the one we were on. Each egg had a letter or number on it spelling out a word or phrase, you had to collect all 10 and work out what it spelt before you got your prize.

IMG_2306

IMG_2313

The Gardens at Hughenden are beautiful if not a little hilly they are manageable with a buggy and the girls had so much fun running around them, we ended up sitting on the lawn watching them run and roll down the hill, copying the bigger children. The National Trust have a book for children called 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ we can definitely tick off rolling down a hill.

IMG_2314

IMG_2334

Lunch at the National Trust is a reasonable price for a day out £20 got us 2 baked potatoes for the grown ups, 2 children’s lunch boxes, a slice of cake and a pot of tea for 2. The children’s lunch boxes were actually pretty good as lunch boxes go, a sandwich, 2 other items and a drink. The other items included sliced cheese, raisins, a piece of fruit or a bag of crisps. My only complaint about lunch boxes and actually children’s meals in general is when they include a drink, it’s always some kind of juice, and although the National Trust had fruit juice (as in apple or orange fresh juice, well I would say made from concentrate but you know what I mean) it’s still juice, why can’t they offer water or milk (and by milk I mean plain milk not flavoured) as an option. For me it’s because Cora will only drink water or milk (yes I know how lucky I am) which is great until you want a children’s box and you have to have a fight to get either. In fairness the lady at the Hughenden was lovely and gave me a bottle of water, but that’s pretty unusual (I have this argument a lot).

Easter egg Hunt done, hill rolling done, time for an ice cream (cup of tea for the mummies) and then  an assault course of sorts on the way out, looking at it to start with I thought it was a bit big for our 2 girls but they gave it a good go and loved it, the assault course ended just before the car park, perfectly timed for home, pretty much perfect end to a very lovely day.

IMG_2327IMG_2337

RHS Wisley Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt

This week we visited the fabulous RHS Wisley to find the Lindt Gold Bunny. The Gardens at Wisley are definitely worth a visit even without the gold bunnies to be found. It costs £12.60 for an adult and £6.30 for children over 5 (I think that’s pretty decent that children don’t need to pay until they are 5!) unless you have membership which is £59 a year unless you pay by direct debit when you get 25% of. Membership allows you and a guest into the Gardens, luckily for me my lovely friend Claire has membership as she lives quite near, so her membership allowed the two of us in plus our 4 under 5 were already free.

IMG_2150

The Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt (clearly sponsored by Lindt) was a lovely way to explore the Gardens as with little ones you could quite easily end up in the same places all the time, it was just the right number of bunnies too. 6 bunnies to find, with a clue sheet that could be picked up at the entrance, nice and bright and easy to follow with a map in the back for the grown ups (and bigger children) to find all the clues.

Each Bunny was placed somewhere in the garden for the children to find. By each Bunny was a numbers board so you knew you were in the general area of where the Bunny was. Each clue on the answer sheet was straight forward leading you to where the Bunny was, except the last one which was again straight forward only the Bunny was further away from the clue than it really needed to be. That being said it was still pretty easy to find.

With six bunnies to be found we set off around the grounds stopping at each one depending on where it was for a little play or a run around. The girls loved finding the bunnies and were particularly taken by the GIANT Gold Bunny outside of the glasshouse, although Cora knew it was made of the same stuff as a bouncy castle and took a bit of convincing that she couldn’t jump in it, (that one and bouncy castles it’s almost impossible to get her off once she is on one).

IMG_2157
There was also Easter bonnet making but we missed that, well when I say missed it, we were at the Bunny outside the bonnet making as they had stopped for lunch. Instead we decided to stop and feed the babies and let the girls have a bit of fun in soft play. Yes Wisley even have a small amount of soft play so you can have a cuppa in peace. In fact it is the perfect size for not having to worry as you can see them wherever they are on it from everywhere in the room, and even though it is particularly small this doesn’t faze the children they just get on with it.

Being gardens there are plenty of places to have a picnic, I have to be honest I am never really that organised, but there are plenty of places to eat in Wisley, although I would say it is on the expensive side for what it is. That being said, the children’s lunch bag is a pretty average price for that kind of thing, and has a brilliant variety of choice, better in the main café than the one by the glasshouse, but that’s where soft play is so it’s what you fancy doing really.

After completing our Bunny hunt and our day at the Gardens we headed out handing our answer sheets (well showing them really) to the lady on the desk and the girls collected their Lindt Gold Bunny much to their delight. Neither of them could wait until they got home so they sat on the Bunny bench outside and ate them. All in all a lovely day out and an excellent Easter hunt.

IMG_2147

Dear William

Dear William,

My gorgeous wonderful sleep thief, it’s hard to believe that you have only been in the world for 5 short months, they have flown by. I can’t imagine life without you anymore, yet I know that I have changed your sister’s world forever. For good I hope although I know you will come to blows throughout your childhood. I hope we make it a happy one for you. I hope you are as happy as your sister seems to be, I think you will be as you are full of smiles.

There are some things I want to tell you, I am sorry for the reflux and for the pain you were, and sometimes still are in. I am sorry it took me so long to realise that the pain was definitely reflux and not colic, it was so hard to tell, as you were a sickly baby but not a really sicky baby and although I knew you had a bit of reflux I didn’t think it was that bad. I was wrong. Thankfully a lovely friend sent me back to the GP to get you some more medicine. I didn’t want to be ‘that’ mum bothering the GP all the time, I wish I had a bit more.

I am sorry that you sometimes have to cry, or your sister would never be fed or clothed, and she would constantly be having accidents as her timing is impeccable, she has the ability to wait until I am doing something with you and then only Mummy will do, for this I am sorry. Nobody tells you about these small things that will make you feel guilty, and they are small things, but with baby number 2, that’s you, things are different. They have to be as there is already another small person here depending on me, mummy guilt is the worse kind.

I am sorry as baby number 2 your routine fits in around what your sister is doing, I promise this will change, probably not any time soon, but it will when she goes to school and then there will be Mummy and William time, and we will have such fun just you and me. It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with both of you together I do, I love this time, but sometimes I feel like I am being split in two and that I don’t know which thing to do first. I treasure our time the 3 of us as I know it won’t last, soon Cora will be at school and we won’t have that. But I love our time together just the two of us, it is time to be treasured, and I will treasure it forever.

William you are such a lovely boy, such a precious boy, such a special boy. I love you with all of my heart, and I am thankful every day that you have come into our lives, you complete our family.

I will love you forever

Mummy xxx

Dear Cora

Dear Cora,

My beautiful beautiful Cora, I want to tell you how proud I am of you. I want to tell you how much I love you, and how much joy you bring to my world. I know it doesn’t always seem like that, and how unfair the world must feel to you sometimes. How you have gone from having my undivided attention, to having to share me with another person. I know I spend so much of my day telling you to leave your brother alone, and that he’s not a toy, I know that you love him and you want to play with him and share your world with him too, but you have to be patient he will share with you too.

IMG_3808

I want to tell you that you have been such a big girl, such a brave girl such a good girl. We moved you not once but twice in a short period of time, from what you have known since the day you were born to a new bed, a new room, a new house. But before you got your new bed you watched all your belongings get packed up in boxes and taken away in a great big truck, until we knew not when. You were so very good when we stayed with you Aunty and Uncle, but you broke my heart eve y time you asked me to go home, for we no longer had a home, one that was coming but no date to help you make sense of what was happening in your world.

IMG_1886

You are such a good big sister, so helpful and kind, not only did we move you but we added a new person to your world, one who you love but who has not always been the easiest to live with. I know when you act up it’s for my attention but believe me when I tell you my beautiful girl, you would get so much more if you just listened and did what you were asked. You are not a naughty girl, you are not a spiteful girl, but my darling your listening ears have a tendency to fail, this is a new thing, a recent thing since your brother came along.

IMG_1893

I wanted to tell you I am sorry I shout, sometimes I fear it may not totally be justified, the shouting I mean I am so tired all the time and tired Mummy is not always the most patient Mummy. I am sorry that I can’t always play with you as much as I would like, your brother needs so much more attention than you right now but I want you to know that these things will change, as your brother gets bigger and needs less attention, as he begins to understand the world more, as he begins to understand us more.

IMG_1951

I want you to know that I have found this difficult too, and I have felt oh so guilty that I have changed your little world, that although we did everything we could to prepare you for all the changes, that it was still hard for all of us, our little family of three has become four. This is not something I would ever change, I love you both to the ends of the earth, and slowly but surely we are finding our way, our new way, the only way.

IMG_1955

I need you to know that I love you with all of my heart, with all of my being, you are my beautiful rainbow and you will never know how much joy you bring to mine and Daddy’s lives. I hope I will teach you to be strong and courageous, to be kind and to help others. I hope I will teach you that you can be anything you want to be, I hope I bring you up to be a good person, but most of all I wish for you to have a lifetime of happiness, filled with love and laughter and friendship.

I will love you for always, Mummy xxxxx

To my Angel

To my beautiful Angel,

You would be 3 right now, I don’t even know if you were a boy or a girl, but you would be three. I wonder would you have ginger hair too? Would you be as cheeky as your younger brother and sister? I am sure you would have been as beautiful as they are.

I am sorry I didn’t protect you well enough, that I failed you, I am sorry that you are not here, although I know that losing you means that Cora is here, and I cannot imagine my world without her, I know my world would be different if you were here. I have a terrible guilt inside to both of you, to you for wanting Cora to be and to her for wishing that you had made it too. I know I could never have all three of you, but I will always wish I could.

I think of you always, I wonder what you would have been like? What your likes and dislikes would be, who you would be. What colour your eyes would be, would you be a dot like Cora or a giant like William, would you look like me or Daddy or neither of us?

Anniversaries come and go, you due date, the day I lost you, and I know only Daddy and I really remember those days, they will be forever etched in our memories, well mine anyway. talking about them and you is hard for other people because they don’t know what to say, so I find myself talking to a select few, I am sure you know who they are and I know they know, most of whom have also lost a baby, but there are a special few who have not suffered this trauma, this grief, who talk about you too. It shouldn’t be like this, we should be able to talk about you.

You are and always will be part of our family, your brother and sister will know about you, you are on our family tree for all to see, where you belong, I wish we could’ve given you a name, but you will always be Baby.

IMG_1957

I need you to know that I love you and I miss you even though we never met, I so desperately wanted to meet you, with all of my heart. I am so sorry that we didn’t.

I will love you for always,

Mummy xxxx

Two Waterbabies sitting on the wall

Saturday saw William go for his first underwater photo shoot, a milestone in his Waterbabies journey. At just 4 months old he has finished his first term of swimming lessons and has been deemed by his fantastic teacher Rosie to be ready to have his picture taken underwater. Rosie has been teaching Cora since she was 9 weeks old and when I decided (I say decided but there was never any question that William wouldn’t swim) to book William into lessons too, I knew that I wanted them to have the same teacher.

Waterbabies run an automatic rebooking system so usually unless you opt out your child is automatically booked onto the next chapter. When you are pregnant and nearing your due date, they take you off automatic rebooking in case you miss lessons having the baby and the weeks immediately post birth. If you do miss lessons for this then Waterbabies will refund you the money for the lessons you miss. So with William’s due date imminent we had been taken off rebooking, however because we are normally on rebooking we still got the texts and the emails. One of which came through the morning William was born and as I was sat waiting for Gareth to bring Cora back to meet her new baby brother, I thought I would just give them a quick ring to check Cora had been continued on to the next chapter and to book William into chapter one. I think Jamie in the office thought I was a bit crazy when he asked William’s date of birth and I replied today. Maybe I was but I knew if I didn’t do it when the text came through I would just never get round to it (I do a lot of things in my head but never actually get round to doing them, usually replying to text messages!).

William started his Waterbabies journey at just 6 weeks old, he was the youngest in his class but definitely not the smallest, there were only 4 babies in his class which was a complete contrast to when Cora started and the class was full, with 10 babies in it. When William started, he had to go on a different day to Cora because of his age. So the day he turned 6 weeks old we headed off to a new pool, Cora went to spend the morning with Grandma, and William and I went swimming for the first time. It was not the picture of serenity that you have in your head, of Mummy and baby bonding, of William loving the water, blah blah blah. Oh no William screamed the whole way through the lesson, from the moment he got in the water till the moment he got out, actually that’s not quite true as he was able to do his underwater swim and you can’t do that if your baby is crying so he must have stopped for a couple of minutes, but it did feel like the whole lesson. Luckily for me having swum with Cora I knew this could happen so stayed as calm as you can with a screaming baby for half an hour. Rosie of course was great throughout reassuring the other parents that sometimes this happens, and it’s completely normal.

Cora continued to swim in her old class on a Wednesday for the 1st part of the term, but it quickly became clear that in terms of childcare that wasn’t going to work. After speaking to Rosie and liaising with the team in the office (and one of the other mums in Cora’s original class who was also going to have to move her daughter) Cora (and Molly) started a different chapter in a different pool on a different day. Cora now swims first and William sits on the poolside then we swap over and Cora goes with Grandma to get changed whilst William swims with Mummy. Cora has actually come on loads in her swimming abilities since swapping lessons as she is now being challenged because there are toddlers who are nearly 4 and much more able in the swimming ability than Cora is. It’s fabulous to see! She has completed the ASA level 1 this term, which she did with Daddy as Mummy couldn’t take her one Monday as she had to be elsewhere. Very proud Mummy moment but I am quite sad that I missed it, but also glad that Daddy got to do something special with her the 1st time her took her.

William has gone from screaming every other week to loving being in the water at the end of the term. A grumpy boy on the pool side but loves to be in the water, although he doesn’t like to be cold, he managed to grow out of his wetsuit in half a term as he is a bit of a giant (sorry Will) and I forgot to order a new one, so thought I would risk getting in the pool without one! Half way through the lesson I had to put him in one of Rosie’s spares aren’t the teachers fantastic that they have such things as spare wetsuits! From screaming to those first glimpses of recognition about what’s going to happen next, recognising the songs and what’s required of him, it really is amazing. I am guilty though of over compensating with him, not taking him deep enough in the water as I am so used to taking Cora as deep as my arms will allow, well actually now as deep as she will take herself which by the way is the bottom to grab a sinkie! I forgot how little they are when you start when. You have an exuberant toddler jumping off your legs every week, you forgot just how little they are and how amazing those first lessons with your newborn are. How they change so quickly and adapt to their surroundings once they understand what is going on.

Saturday was the culmination of that first term, Williams photo shoot, which again he just loved, he did make it easy for us to pick a photo though, by only having his eyes open in one of them! It is an amazing photo, which is a good thing as there is only one. Now we just have to wait for it to arrive, to add it to our wall with the one of our beautiful Cora!

Swimming still remains Cora’s favourite thing to do, and although she didn’t want her picture taken on Saturday she did keep asking Gareth if it was her turn next, it is without a doubt my favourite thing to do with both of them. It’s my half an hour just with either Cora or William, Mummy and child time, and with two of them under three it’s pretty much the only regular Mummy and me time with them both. For me it is also the single most important thing I can teach them (with Rosie’s help) whilst they are this small. Drowning remains one of the leading causes of death in children under 5.

For all you new swimming mummies and daddies out there, don’t worry if your baby does cry during the first lesson, it’s ok. It’s one lesson and it will get better, it might take a few lessons but it will get better, your baby will amaze you, they will learn far quicker than you can imagine. For any of you Mummies and Daddies thinking about taking your baby swimming I can’t recommend it highly enough it is really amazing.

Welcome to the world William

 

So it’s been a while……. I haven’t written anything on my blog for a while, to start with it was because I was absolutely knackered with still being at work and being pregnant, then it was because all the things I wanted to write about were about being pregnant and I didn’t want to tempt fate (those of you who know me will know I am very superstitious and having lost one baby I would never have risked it!) and just recently it’s that stupidly, some might say, we decided to move house and have a baby all at the same time.

Anyway in a rare moment of quiet right now both children are asleep, the husband is at work, and whilst I have loads of things I could be doing, sitting down and writing something seemed like a good place to start.

So William is finally here, after what seemed like an epic pregnancy, where I have managed to put on a ton of weight and now look like the size of a house! (6 week check and weight watchers here I come!) and one in which I didn’t feel particularly well but thought it was down to my age, it turns out it probably wasn’t, which let me tell you makes me feel a whole lot better. Having felt like a bit of a burden on my work colleagues for the last 8 weeks of being at work, I think most of the way I was feeling was because I wasn’t so well. So thank you lovely work colleagues for looking after me so well, you know who you are.

img_0909

William was born via forceps delivery on the 10th of October at 05.58 he weighed 8lbs 15oz and was born at 40 weeks and 2 days as I was induced because of my age, something that nearly didn’t happen because the hospital policy says one thing, but the doctors thought something completely different. Thankfully it did happen as I dread to think how big he would have been if I had been left to do it on my own, Cora was evicted too at 42 weeks exactly so I think the likelihood of him coming naturally was quite slim. Both my babies were induced the both nearly ended up in c sections and both had assisted deliveries.

mono-653100692-9

Being induced is no fun at all, apparently it’s more painful than if you go into labour naturally, which the midwives seem to relish in telling you, is this to try and dissuade you from having an induction or just something they feel the need to tell you? I am pretty sure though that most women would rather go into labour naturally and not have to go through the process of being induced, because it’s certainly no fun. The only benefit of having an induction is that they don’t send you home, once you’re in you’re in until the baby comes.

20161008_133514

Whilst I was pregnant with William I had several episodes of reduced movements, leading to me going in to be monitored, where of course as soon as the CTG machine goes on he started wiggling about like you wouldn’t believe. Any of you who have read my bio will know that I am a nurse, I work in a children’s environment and we get the maternity crash bleep (emergency bleep) which admittedly probably makes you slightly more paranoid as our doctors run to those bleeps and we often hear the outcome of what happened to the babies they try to save. So when I had those episodes I knew I needed to be checked out, even so I still felt a little bit like I was wasting every bodies time. To be honest one of the times I went in the midwife looking after me made what was probably a throw away comment about waiting longer before coming in (I phone up at midnight and hadn’t really felt the baby move for a good 8 hours –how much longer do you wait and what, I go to sleep and then there’s no heartbeat in the morning?) she said other things too but that’s what I heard and that’s what I remember from that visit (oh and the fact that even she thought the hospital policy for inducing due to maternal age says that if you are 39 when you book in you don’t have to be induced at term you can wait, the registrar wanted me to be induced at term. I was 40 two weeks after I booked in).

20161009_172300

The rate of still birth is still shockingly bad for a developed country like the UK I think I read earlier today that it’s 1 in 220 births, and yes we are talking about it and yes we are more aware of babies movements. Comments like that, oh and that of the sonographer when they did a growth scan, to check that William was ok because I had had 2 episodes of reduced movements, who told me that ‘isn’t it normal for the baby to slow down before birth as there is less room?’ And that ‘it’s just an excuse for another scan’ can you believe that a health professional actually said that to a pregnant women worried about the health of her baby? It’s no wonder the rate is still high, would you go back after that? It isn’t true that babies movements reduce before birth and if you are worried about your babies movements you should speak to your midwife or your labour ward. There is loads of useful information about babies movements on either the Tommy’s website www.tommys.org.uk or on the Kicks Count website www.kickscount.org.uk. Tommy’s have just launched a new campaign all about babies movements called Movements Matter, trying to break some of those myths. Believe me when I say you are not wasting any bodies time and even if you think you are who cares? The most important thing is that your baby is ok and that you know it is. No midwife wants to help bring a baby into the world that will never take its first breath so bother them, if something is wrong they will be glad you did and it might just save your babies life.

Any way back to being induced, we rocked up to the maternity unit at 12.30 on the day we were booked in after phoning in the morning as we were told to and being given a time. The midwife sitting at the desk didn’t say a word, she just looked at us, got up went into the office and then came back, she then showed us into the parents room as there was no bed ready, and told us to wait. She never introduced herself at all, which I think is one of the most crucial things as a health professional you can do, the sad thing about it is that’s what I remember, not that she was actually lovely and that she did look after us very well even if it was only for an hour, when we eventually got a bed, I couldn’t tell you what her name is now because that was my first impression, I can however tell you the names of the midwives and the doctors who did introduce themselves and then gave amazing care, which to be fair to her she did give.

20161008_133452

We saw 4 different midwives between coming in on Saturday afternoon and still not being in labour on Sunday morning all of whom told us something different, and really made me feel like they couldn’t be bothered because this is what happens with induction nothing really! That if you are going to be induced it’s a long old process and the baby won’t be here for days, despite the fact that within 6 hours of having the propess with Cora I was in labour (although again the midwife on the late shift didn’t believe me because it was my first baby and they take at least 48 hours to come!) They do however give you a different drug if it’s the second time of being induced and so you do get checked after 6 hours which is better than the 1st time, and you do get to hear your babies heart beat at regular intervals as they check that the drug hasn’t distressed the baby. On Sunday morning a really lovely midwife came on duty, now what I don’t know is if they had suddenly decided to read my notes and saw what I did or if I am just being cynical and that actually she was just excellent. I mean she was excellent but was that how she always gave care or was it because of my job? There was a definite change in my care and the level of care we received. Any way all that aside, she took everything in hand and basically sorted out what was going on and got me reviewed by the registrar and got a plan in place. 2nd Prostin given but I don’t think she thought it was going to work, however 6 hours later 2cm dilated and a review by the Reg and we were off down to delivery suite for them to break my waters (in an attempt to bring on labour and not require any further drugs).

Once we were on the delivery suite we had a midwife with us until the baby was delivered and actually for some time after. Our midwife was amazing, unlike when I had Cora when I was in active labour by the time we got to delivery suite and actually have 6 hours of my life missing, I can actually remember most of William’s delivery, although entonox (gas and air) makes me like a drunk person so I do have some gaps which Gareth relishes in telling me the things I was saying.

My waters broken and I had 2 hours to start ‘doing it on my own’ when they would make a decision about whether I needed to have the IV infusion or could carry on without it. Thank fully I was progressing so I didn’t need it, and was given another 4 hours to progress further until the docs reviewed again. During that time William was monitored every 15 minutes by Doppler to check he was ok and once an hour a different midwife would come and check with fresh ears, something I don’t remember them doing with Cora, although like I said I have 6 hours of her labour missing and when I asked Gareth he couldn’t remember!

2am arrived and I was at 6cm so allowed to carry on but this is the point at which it all becomes a bit of a blur to me. Sometime over the next couple of hours I decided I wanted an epidural, which by the time the anaesthetist came to put it in I wanted to push so decided against it, thinking that he might be here soon so I would be ok, only to still be pushing 2 hours later and starting to really struggle, not only because I had now been up 48 hours but also because I have a pin in my hip, so I have a limited range of movement and was finding it hard to get into a comfortable position to push. During this time there was talk of a caesarean because they thought William’s head was tilted sideways, although a change in my position sorted that out. Eventually I think it was decided that I wasn’t going to get him out without a bit of help and the Reg was amazing, she put all my fears about forceps deliveries at ease, I was offered a spinal for it but she said it would take about half an hour as I had to go to theatre for that and by that point I had had enough, so I told her just to do it and get the baby out. She did she had him out in 2 minutes, a healthy baby boy, weighing 8lbs 15oz, unfortunately for our lovely midwife, she had gone for her tea break as William was born, we did have an equally lovely midwife take over from her, but since she had been with us since 20.00 the night before it was quite sad that she didn’t see him born.

20161010_060331

They had asked us what our birth plan when we got to delivery suite, but to be honest with both children we didn’t have one, just for the baby to come safely into the world, and although William was an assisted delivery we were able to have skin to skin and delayed cord cutting and all of those lovely things that happen after an uncomplicated birth, the things we missed with Cora because she was distressed and had meconium. We have a lot to thank the staff for as we do have 2 beautiful children who were bought into the world safely and although things happened during both of their deliveries because of the amazing midwives we had both times they were picked up quickly and dealt with effectively.

20161010_060129

20161010_061102

Because William was delivered by forceps we had to stay in 24 hours after he was born, which to be honest wasn’t a bad thing. I was feeling quite light headed and breathless post birth and had had a larger than normal blood loss so they did my HB which was low so decided to start me on iron tablets, I have to be honest I am not a good patient and having not seen Cora for 4 days and seeing how upset she was when she had to leave William and I in the hospital the day he was born really upset me. I really wanted to go home, I don’t think I even told Gareth how rubbish I felt. Just walking from my bed to the desk made me breathless and I continued to feel lightheaded, however when I was sat down I felt ok, so when I was asked how I felt I was generally sat down so told them I felt fine, probably not my greatest move as I ended up having to go back twice as my HB dropped and I needed to have an iron transfusion. Really not what you need when you are trying to pack a house up to move and you have a new baby.

20161010_122526

It turns out that I also have a low B12 so am now being investigated for other stuff that might be wrong to give me a low B12. This does make me feel a whole lot better as I was quite breathless for the last 12 weeks of my pregnancy for no apparent reason and as I said before I thought it was because if my age, so I am quite glad that here may be another cause. I would rather not have anything wrong, hopefully a course of B12 injections will sort me out.

Cora is absolutely besotted with her baby brother and is turning out to be a great big sister, she is coping really well with moving house and becoming a new big sister which at 2 I am really proud of. We have had the odd tantrum and some really not very Cora like behaviour but in the whole she’s doing pretty well, and William well apart from being a bit sick after most feeds he’s a model baby, you couldn’t ask for a better behaved baby. We are truly very lucky and have the most wonderful family, welcome to the world gorgeous William we love you very much xx

653100692-220161010_134442img_1136

The Miffy/Nijntje Museum

Recently, (and I use the term recently loosely as it is probably a good 6 weeks) we went to visit some very dear friends of ours in Amsterdam, this is at least the 4th if not 5th time we have been to see them since they moved over and the third time we have taken Cora. The 1st time she was just 6 weeks old and we went over for their baby shower. They have a beautiful daughter called Imogen, who is 4 months younger than Cora, so the last two times have been full of play dates and egging each other on, but they get on so well and have such fun that’s it’s hard to be cross with them, when they do misbehave.

image

Visiting Amsterdam with a local is a much different experience than being a tourist there, whenever we are there our days our filled with laughter and good food and this time was no exception. I think for me though the highlight of this trip (apart from seeing our friends which goes without saying obviously) was our trip out to Utrecht to visit the Miffy (Nijntje) museum.

image

 

The Miffy museum is a magical place designed for 2 to 10 year olds and really is superbly well thought out, it has quite recently had a makeover and changed its name from the Dick Bruna Haus to the Nijntje museum. It does however have a few little teething problems, for example you have to buy your tickets from the museum across the road, but nowhere does it say that. By the time you are told you have to do that you have already exposed your children to all things Miffy, which for a nearly 2 year old to then be told we have to go somewhere else for a ticket is mildly frustrating. The next hurdle you are faced with is that the place where you buy your tickets is also the gift shop, said nearly 2 year old spots Miffy merchandise and has a tantrum because Mummy says wait until we have finished and we will come back then. Daddy is in the queue organising tickets when the person behind the desk says you only have 30 mins to enter the museum after you have bought your ticket, so you ask about the restaurant in the Miffy house to be told there isn’t one you need to use the one in this museum, but if you don’t have a ticket you have to walk all the way round the outside of the building to enter the restaurant, which again upsets the nearly 2 year old as again they don’t really understand what is happening.

image

image

The restaurant although frustrating to get to was actually lovely, if not a little on the pricey side. The food was lovely with plenty of choice and special Miffy shaped sandwiches for the children oh and Miffy cakes too.

image

Once lunch was over we headed over the road and managed to keep the 2 girls entertained with the giant Miffy outside the museum whilst tickets were bought by the other half of the party. There is plenty of buggy parking inside the museum and plenty of lockers to store coats etc in, and a little play area with a giant cuddly Miffy on a bench for the little ones to play with whilst you are sorting yourself out. Cora of course took a liking to said giant Miffy.

image

image

Once we were all sorted it was on to the 1st room, a fabulous place full of pots and pans and all things needed for a child size version of Miffy’s house, even a second floor! Cora was up and down the stairs and in and out the kitchen playing with all the books even though they were all in Dutch. There was even a garden shed with a giant plastic dog as a pet in the garden.

image

image

 

image

From there we went into the hospital/doctor’s surgery where there were lots of clothes to dress up in and play at looking after the patients (giant cardboard cut outs in real beds). Cora rightly choose the nurses outfit (even if a bit out of date it’s still what most of us would draw if we were ever asked to draw one!) she had so much fun in there although she was a little phased by the card board cut outs and actually took them out the bed and at one point got in the bed herself.

image

image

image

image

image

 

Onto the next room which was filled with lots of Miffy memorabilia, our friends told us that some of it had been from a commemoration of Miffy the year previously, where there were giant decorated Miffy figurines dotted all over Amsterdam. Plus, various different games really designed for slightly older children, but they girls still loved it.

imageimage

image

 

Into the lift and upstairs to the transport room, both girls loved this room, with a model car they could sit in, put seatbelts on and pretend to drive, a road layout with trikes which were a little big for both girls so they didn’t get to go on those which was a bit of a shame. Finally, there was a bus that moved along on a runner, they both thought this was fantastic and it took a bit of convincing to get them both out.

image

image

image

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed myself, what I loved about it was that they had actually thought about smaller children too. It’s very rare to find somewhere where there is so much to do for the little ones and in the most part you have to pay such a lot of money for the privilege of not much to do. The Nijntje Museum have it spot on from that point of view as well as from a value for money point of view, they do however need to sort out how you buy tickets and eat in the restaurant as that bit of our day was really quite stressful. Cora came away with a whole load of Miffy goodies which she loves. A great day had by all.

image

image

image