<![CDATA[Twinkle Twinkle Here You Are - Home]]>Mon, 11 Jan 2016 22:05:23 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[Real Easy, Bamberoos & Wonderoos Review]]>Mon, 02 Nov 2015 23:55:24 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/realeasybamberooswonderoosreview
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Thanks to the wonderful  owner of these brands, I have been sent three awesome nappies to try. They came to us at a perfect  time as Charlotte has started to become a really big heavy wetter and our usual nappies just weren't doing the trick.  

As you will know from my previous blogs Charlotte has severe eczema and cannot use  disposable nappies as they irritate her skin. But where do you go when the nappies you have don't last an hour and your baby isn't ready for potty training?  You shop  for Bamberoos, Wonderoos or Real Easy.

Want to know why? Read more below:
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 Real Easy  are sized nappies.  They are available in Small, XS, Medium, Large & XL. The nappies are a really generous size  and Charlotte at 20 months is still in a medium, however she is dainty.  The Real Easy website gives  a great description about the sizes but generally you will only need small & medium.

So what is the nappy made of?

"The Real Easy nappy is constructed with a soft fleece lining to keep baby feeling comfy and dry, behind this is a sewn in microterry soaker pad (2 layers) to quickly soak up wetness and wick it away from baby.  Behind this layer is an absorbent pad made from 3 layers of thirsty, trim organic cotton/hemp fabric." 

This is a great  nappy as its very thin on the bum but has amazing absorbency. You can even add extra boosters but this nappy really doesn't need it. I add an extra bamboo insert for nightime use  and Charlotte's skin is always bone dry by morning.  I love how the material hugs her skin comfortably and its so soft next to her skin. 

Its easy to wash and dry too. I  put it in my normal 60 degree wash with my other nappies and straight in the dryer. Comes out like new after each wash and amazingly seems to get more absorbent with each wash. 

As well as great materials, easy washing and being hugably soft, there is also stunning prints on offer.  My favourite is the Dinosaur print but I think  thats because Charlotte roars every time she sees it :).
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Like the look of this nappy? Want to Win one? See competition below for a chance to win a size small with a stunning print.

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Wonderoos are a one size nappy, this means they  should fit from birth to potty training. Obviously if you have a very small newborn or a very chunky toddler  you may need an alternative nappy like the easy fit XS or XL. However it is a very generous size so I should imagine it will fit the majority as it is intended.  

Again this nappy is really easy to fit with a popper system and is lovely and soft inside.  It is also very easy to wash and can be put in the dryer. This is another go to nappy for me. I always use it for bed or it we are going  to be out of the house for a few hours.

This nappy is different inside to the Easy fit  as it has two separate inserts which are included in your nappy packet.  The great thing is they pop together really simply with poppers on the insert. You will notice there is  a blue popper and pink popper, these are designed so that the insert is in  the right place depending on  the gender of your child, blue for boys and pink for girls. The blue one being slightly higher to prevent leaks. 

So what are these inserts made from? 

In your packet you will find a  shaped microfibre insert which is intended for newborn babies and a a trifold bamboo insert, which is for older babies. I personally snap them both together as I find this is the most effective  for Charlotte.  Once popped together they just slide into the pocket and your ready to go. 

Again you have a great selection of prints and solid colours to choose from. I love the way this nappy sits around Charlotte's  legs. Again its so comfortable and hugably soft. 

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Bamberoos  are a one sized fitted nappy.  These nappies are perfect for night time use as they are extremely absorbent. Unlike the other two nappies you will need to purchase a wrap to go over this nappy, as although it is extremely absorbent it doesn't include a waterproof layer needed to prevent leaks.

This may not be the prettiest nappy but it has amazing absorbency and the great thing is there is so much choice for wraps out there. I was sent a THiRSTiES Duo Wrap to try with this nappy which I have to say has took some time getting used to.

In the beginning, I could never fit it right and would always end up with gaps and find leaks, however after alot of practice I learnt that I need to line the wrap with with the Bamberoo, pulling it to ensure it would cover her legs before fastened and then I need to adjust the waist. Still it is not my favourite wrap in design or print but it does the job.

I  also have little lamb wraps which are cheap and lacking in quality however with Velcro fastening they are slightly easier to fit and again do the job.  The great thing about wraps is you can give them a wipe over and use them the following night  and so don't need to be washed as much. Personally, I  wash them nightly as with Charlotte weeing so much, I find there is a slight smell. Also gives me a great excuse to look at more wraps :). If anyone has any suggestions for wraps after reading this blog, I would love to hear about them. 

So what are they made from?

"Bamberoos are made from gentle, soft bamboo fabric, with a layer of microfibre in the core, and come supplied with 2 loose inserts - 1 bamboo and 1 microfibre. "

I also add an additional bamboo insert behind the microfibre and bamboo insert that is provided with the nappy as I feel it gives extra security for Charlotte sleeping a full night with a dry bottom. 

The only downside of me about this nappy is that she ends up with marks around her legs. This happens no matter how I adjust it. Charlotte does have sensitive skin, so that maybe the reason but don't let that put you off as this is the ultimate heavy wetters nappy. 

My favourite thing about this nappy is its soft when you first get it and remains soft each time you wash it. Also like the others it washes at 60 and straight in the dryer. No meshing, easy peasy  :).


In conclusion:

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  • Easy to fit, 
  • Great prints, 
  • hugably soft, 
  • Easy to wash and dry, 
  • Great for nightime use, 
  • generous size.
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  • Easy to fit, 
  • Great selection of prints and solid colours
  • hugably soft, 
  • Easy to wash and dry, 
  • Great for nightime use, 
  • One size.​
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  • Easy to fit, 
  • hugably soft, 
  • Great for nightime use, 
  • One size,
  • Dislike the marks but impressed with absorbency.



Now here's your chance to win a Small Real Easy nappy. A small fits babies from 7-18lbs which is great for any new or expecting parents to start their collection. 
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Disclosure - These nappies were sent to me free of charge however all opinions are my own. This blog has been written by me in my own words. Any information that is in speech marks is taken directly from the websites, I have linked throughout this blog.  
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<![CDATA[Imagination Matters Weather]]>Mon, 03 Aug 2015 22:00:46 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/imagination-matters-weather
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#ImaginationMatters theme this week is #Weather.  This week I printed off a calendar and days of the week ducks from SparkleBox. SparkleBox is a great website  to get all sorts of resources. Their calendar  only includes Monday to Friday, as its used in schools. So I also printed the days of the week ducks to have Monday to Sunday. Plus Charlotte loves ducks so I knew it would go down well. 

Here are the files so you can print them at home yourself. I have  stuck them to the window so that each day we can look at the weather and  label the chart. Obviously Charlotte is to young to really understand any of this but we have fun with a days of the week song and she enjoy sticking them to the chart. At the moment they are stuck with blu-tack but hoping to get some sticky-back velcro  to make it easy for Charlotte to stick. 
todays_weather_is.pdf
File Size:641 kb
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duck_days_&_months.pdf
File Size:1934 kb
File Type:pdf
Download File

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Thank you for stopping by.
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<![CDATA[Imagination Matters Emergency Services]]>Fri, 31 Jul 2015 23:48:33 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/imagination-matters-emergency-services
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#ImaginationMatters theme this week is #EmergencyServices. This week has been a busy one so not really had much chance to get creative. We were going to do some junk modelling and make a fire engine this weekend but due to silly mummy burning her hand making sausages for Charlotte's dinner, I have been out of action.  So we did some colouring and imaginative play instead. 

 VTech Toot-Toot Drivers Fire Station is a brilliant toy and perfect for this week. It was bought for Easter instead of Easter eggs but at the time she was a bit too young for it and just broke up the track instead of playing with it. 

Now however she loves driving the cars round the track and playing with the fire engine.  Each vehicle sings, makes its own sounds and lights up.  There are points on the fire station and fire tuck that sets off the vehicles and Charlotte loves making noise. This was a great toy to play with  both independently and together.  
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Charlotte loved sitting in her high chair colouring in again this week. I gave her themed colour in pages that I got from twistynoodle.com. Its a great website that allows to you choose from a selections of colour in pages. You can even add the option for handwriting practice on your colour in page and it gives you a range of options depending on the ability of your child. We obviously only printed the picture but will definitely continue to use this site as she gets old. Here are the links to the pages I printed:

http://twistynoodle.com/coloring-pages/transportation/rescue-vehicles/
http://twistynoodle.com/coloring-pages/people/firefighters/
http://twistynoodle.com/coloring-pages/people/doctors/
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Thanks for stopping by, pop by next week for  'weather'.
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<![CDATA[Imagination Matters Shopping]]>Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:08:42 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/imaginationmattersshopping
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#ImaginationMatters theme this week is #Shopping and we went on a lovely family outing to Eureka. According to its website 'Eureka is a fun, interactive children’s museum and educational charity based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, where children play to learn and grown-ups learn to play.' and I completely agree.
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Eureka  is a fascinating place to visit and fun for the whole family, no matter  your age. 

With this weeks theme in mind, it was perfect timing to visit Eureka as it has its own pretend supermarket which Charlotte loved. They have shopping trolleys, baskets, food, money, tills, scanners ect. Its a pretend paradise and Charlotte had a wonderful time filling the baskets and rolling the trolleys about. 

For older children its very educational too, it has a scanning section attached to a television screen. When you scan an  item and a video plays which tells you all about it and where it comes from. There is also a food guessing game, where you can put your hand in and guess the food item and then look to check if you were right.  Obviously these activities were too young for Charlotte but us Adults had fun. We all felt like kids in a sweet shop :).

 This whole section is divided up to look exactly like a supermarket and it was lovely to see everyone having so much fun, including Ricky playing on the tills haha.  We know exactly what to buy Charlotte for Christmas and after searching Amazon we have found a much smaller version which we know she will love, especially the shopping trolley but shhh don't tell her what Santa is bringing. 
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Toy Story Romper by Beau Bespoke
As you know, I don't usually talk about fashion on my blog but as we have had so many compliments about Charlotte's gorgeous Romper, I had to take this opportunity to show it off.  It was custom created by Beau Bespoke, who lovingly creates these amazing works of art and many other fabulous items of clothing from home. For more information, take a look at  her facebook page,  https://www.facebook.com/Beaubespoke, where you will find other creations and can contact her to place an order. 

Now back to Eureka,  take a look through the pictures below to see what we got up to during the rest of our visit. I was extremely impressed by the facilities and it was lovely to see such a nice feeding room. Since having Charlotte I have noticed how many places do not cater for a breastfeeding mum and it was lovely to see a nice room with comfy seating that isn't in a disabled toilet. Also the train station is right next door making it a perfect place for a family outing. 
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures this week. Come back next week for more Imagination Matters. Next weeks theme is 'Emergency Services'. 
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<![CDATA[Sticky Messes - Imagination Matters Around The World]]>Sun, 12 Jul 2015 18:45:26 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/stickymesses-imaginationmatters
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This weeks #ImaginationMatters theme is #AroundTheWorld and we have had lots of fun. 

We started by colouring in a passport that mummy edited and printed  from the internet.  These are ideal for getting children to write. If they are old enough, they can fill in the details themselves. 

As Charlotte is only 16 months, I gave her some crayons, sat her in the high chair, popped BabyTv on the TV and just left her to make marks.  She spent a good hour occupied and I was so impressed watching her hold the crayon. She has shown a clear preference for using her right hand and adjusts the crayon herself to make it comfortable in hand. 
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She had such fun and hasn't stopped  colouring since. She now goes and get the crayons herself and lets us know she wants to sit in her high chair :) its so cute to watch. 

Even at this age, its a great activity as  although she is to young to be a successful writer, it is good for her development to understand that she is making marks. This early stage of writing is called emergent writing and even though them lines and scribbles don't mean much to us, they are the beginning stages of learning to write and understand that marks and letters have meaning. Mark making  is a huge developmental milestone.  

I have included the files if you want to download a blank passport and have a go at home. 
PassportCover.png
File Size:740 kb
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InsidePassport.png
File Size:741 kb
File Type:png
Download File

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I posted this picture on Instagram earlier this week, did you guess what it was?

Its a  Paper-Mache Globe, well a Globe  in working progress. 

To make one, you will need:
- Balloon,
- Newspaper - Torn up into squares/strips,
- Kitchen or Toilet Roll,
- PVA Glue  - 2 Parts Glue 1 Part Water, 
- Paint Brush,
- Patience :).
Blow up the balloon and tie  a knot in the top to secure it. Use the paint brush to apply the glue and water mixture and coat in the ripped up newspaper. Cover the balloon one layer at a time, allowing each layer to go dry before applying the next. You will need around 3 to 4 layers of newspaper to make it hard enough for the next step. 

 Once  covered, leaving only  a small area at the knot end visible, you can pop the balloon. 

Once popped, you will have a gap at the top of your Paper-Mache Globe. You will need to soak strips of newspaper  in the glue mixture and spread them at different angles  until the gap is covered. Again you will need to apply  3 to 4 layers gradually. 

Once the gap is sealed and the Paper-Mache is dry and hard, you then need to cover the full globe in one or two layers of kitchen or toilet roll.  This layer makes it easier to paint once the layer is dry as it gives you a blank canvas to apply the paint onto. 

Please note, this is an extremely messy activity, it is lots of fun but for little ones you may want to strip them.  As Charlotte wears cloth nappies and I didn't want to ruin any with the glue, she was completely stripped and this is the reason why there are no pictures of her doing the Paper-Mache. 

Generally, PVA glue is water based and usually does come out of clothes but I would make sure they wear some old clothes just in case.  Charlotte was covered from head to toe in glue and newpaper after about 5 seconds of doing this. She had lots of fun but lost interest after about 5 minutes. Therefore mummy completed the globe while Charlotte had a splash in the sink with Daddy to get clean. 

At the moment, the Globe is in a newspaper state, which is why there is only one picture but keep your eyes pealed as I will update this post with more pictures as we complete each stage.  Its definitely a worth while activity as even for 5 minutes, Charlotte was exposed to new experiences and textures and had lots of fun getting messy. Paper-Mache is great if you have the time and patience and you can make so many things. 

I hope you enjoyed reading, please come back to see more pictures of our Globe and stop by next week for more Imagination Matters. Next weeks theme is 'Shopping' and we have a lovely outing planned :). 
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<![CDATA[Stuck In The Mud - Imagination Matters - In the garden]]>Fri, 10 Jul 2015 23:44:58 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/stuck-in-the-mud
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Apologies for the delay in posting this week, with the hot weather and a fussy Charlotte, I have been either too busy to get on my laptop or when I could, I have been too exhausted to write anything. 

Anywho....

When we finally got around to doing this week’s Imagination Matters, this is what we got up to...

This weeks #ImaginationMatters theme is #InTheGarden and we have been planting. I know its late in the season for growing vegetables but who cares, we had a ball. Charlotte had so much fun playing with the equipment, messing with the dirt and splashing in the water, whilst watering  the newly planted seeds. We planted leeks, carrots, strawberries, cauliflower and broccoli. 

If they grow, which we hope they will, we will enjoy eating them but if not, it was worth every penny and such a great activity to do with children. To be honest, Charlotte would have been happy with just the soil and the equipment, as she didn't really understand what we were doing but I always like doing activities with a purpose. When we look back on this post, I can show her that we planted vegetables, even if they don't work out :).

You will need:

Children's gardening tools (just a trowel & watering can will do) 
Packet of seeds
Suitable pots - large enough for the seeds to grow
Soil
Thanks for reading, tune in next week for 'Around The World'

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<![CDATA[Being a Blogger]]>Sun, 28 Jun 2015 17:37:32 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/being-a-blogger
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@Laura_BabyKicks    has set me and other bloggers the challenge of writing about what  #beingablogger  means to them. 

So heres what  #Beingablogger means to me: 

Being a Blogger is... closing your laptop late at night, getting into bed and an idea comes to you. What do you do? You'll remember in the morning! But will you? You have a terrible memory, most days you can’t remember what you did yesterday or what your name is. So after spending an hour debating this, you jump up, turn your laptop back on at ridiculous o'clock in the morning and forget your idea by the time your laptop loads.  (You’re actually too tired to think that the notes app on your phone would be much quicker)

Being a Blogger is... balancing a cuddly baby in on one hand while typing with the other.
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Being a Blogger is... becoming a Photoshop whiz and still having lots to learn. One week it takes you a week to remove a background from a picture and the next you find a tool that does it for you in two minutes.

Being a Blogger is...   the hubby shouting at you because you have spent the day on your laptop and phone, jumping between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest and back again. 

Being a Blogger is...   is connecting with companies that you haven't even heard of and then start reviewing for them. Lansinoh has been my breastfeeding savour. They rescued me by sending a double electric breast pump, bottles and a few other products which saved my breastfeeding journey and sanity.

Being a Blogger is...   making the most of expressing on the bed, balancing the laptop in a strategic way so it supports the pumps. 

Being a Blogger is...   making the most of your weekend lie in day (hubby and I take it in turns) and staying up until 3am, when you said you were going to bed at 11:30 .

Being a Blogger is...   constantly touching up your website and redoing things because you have learnt so much since you started and know it can look better. 

Being a Blogger is...   using all the other amazing blogs you read as inspiration, stealing ideas from posts to write or ideas to add to attract more readers

Being a Blogger is...   watching your little one paddle in the paddling pool in the garden, while your battling the sun to respond to comments.
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Being a Blogger is...   walking round with your phone in hand making notes on a blog whilst making breakfast.

Being a Blogger is...   connecting with lots of people all of the world that give you amazing ideas of things to do at home and with your family.

Being a Blogger is...  sharing, making & saving memories. I  love blogging and love being able to document memories that will last a lifetime. Being a Blogger is...  Unforgeable.

I tag the following amazing bloggers to do their #beingablogger post:

Catherine from  @mamavsteacher   mamavsteacher
Al from   @thedadnetworkuk    TheDadNetwork
Dani from  @squishblog itstartedwithasquish

Now make sure you #BlogItForward (thats what i'm calling it :)) by tagging someone to write about what #beingablogger means to them.
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<![CDATA['Stop eating the Marshmallows' Imagination Matters - Circus]]>Wed, 24 Jun 2015 17:58:51 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/imagination-matters-circus
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This weeks #ImaginationMatters is a #Circus  theme. To begin with I really struggled to come up  with ideas  as I thought, what on earth am I going to do with a 15 month old. But after a trip to  Asda and a bit of thinking outside the box, we had a great week. 


We started the week by making some Animal biscuits. Charlotte had lots of fun throwing the ingredients everywhere. By the end, she was covered from head to toe, as  was I.  

Our biscuits  turned out  quite crumbly so we didn't decorate them but they were yummy to eat. 
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Animal Biscuits
Recipe 

50g (2oz) Butter, softened
25g (1oz) Icing Sugar
1 teaspoon of Milk
Vanilla Essence
75g (3oz) Plain Flour
Writing Icing for decoration

Preheat the open to 108oC, 350oF, Gas Mark 4. 

Add  Butter into a bowl and stir until creamy. Then sift icing sugar  and mix.  Add milk and a few drops of  Vanilla Essence and mix again. 

Sift in flour, mix and squeeze the mixture into a ball of dough.  Roll out to 1/2cm thick and cut out shapes using cookie cutters. 

Bake the biscuits for 6 - 8 minutes, leave them to cool and then decorate. 

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White Chocolate & Marshmallows Circus Cookie Treats
Then we made some circus treat cookies. These were very tasty and very easy to  make. 

The only problem I had was  spooning them onto the baking tray.  I didn't read the instructions and the first batch end up as almost  one huge cookie, with a few gaps.  Still tasted great.

Charlotte loved mixing, eating the marshmallows and licking  the mixture from the whisk. 

Charlotte  loved the marshmallows and mummy had to get them in the mixture before she ate them all. Good job I bought a big bag :).
Recipe 

150g of  unsalted butter
125g soft light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
2  teaspoons  pure vanilla extract
1  egg  fridge-cold
1  egg yolk  fridge-cold
300g flour
½  teaspoon  bicarbonate of soda
 326g packet  white  chocolate
Large handful of Marshmallows 

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Melt the butter and let it cool a bit. Put the brown and white sugars into a bowl, pour the slightly cooled, melted butter over them and beat together.

Beat in the vanilla, the cold egg and cold egg yolk until your mixture is light and creamy.

Slowly mix in the flour and bicarb until just blended, then fold in the chocolate chips & Marshmallows.

Use a tablespoon to scoop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet, making sure they are about 8cm/3 inches apart. You will need to make a few batches, keeping the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge between batches.

Bake for 15–17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks.


During my trip to Asda, I found this fab play tent on sale for £7.50, should of been £15. 

Its been such a great buy and Charlotte loves it.  We put lots of animals inside  and pretended to have a day at the circus.  It was great to see her imagination come alive. 

Although some animals did get left outside the tent, noone was hurt  in the play process :). 
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A Day at the Circus
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Making Animal Plates
To finish our week we painted some fabulous animal plates. 

I  drew the animal features, ears, antlers, faces etc,  on one sheet of card  and used plates to create the faces. 

Unlike usually where I let Charlotte have fun with the paints, leaving them all out on the tray for her to go wild. This time it was more structured. I gave her one plate at a time and gave her a brush with one colour on. 

Surprisingly, she sat doing it for a good half an hour.  I helped her with the spots, elephant ears and cut out the features. I stuck them on and added the eyes. Charlotte also helped me stick on the lion's mane. 
Thanks for reading, tune in next week for 'In the Garden'

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<![CDATA[Breastfeeding isn't just about Milk, It's about Love]]>Sun, 21 Jun 2015 17:30:01 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/breastfeeding-isnt-just-about-milk-its-about-love
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Since writing my last blog post about Breastfeeding, " I make milk, What's your Superpower? Our Breastfeeding Story",  I have had so many positive comments. It has been so lovely to finally hear such kind things and be told how well I have  done. Not that I needed patting on the back but as a first time mum not knowing what I am doing, it is always nice to be told your doing okay but the comments I have read have put me on a real high. I feel so much more prouder than I did before. Throughout our feeding journey, I have felt judged, uncomfortable,  self-concious and like a failure. All these feeling have been brought on by others and what I think they thought of me.

I bet I am not the only one who feels or has felt this way, so why do you we do it to ourselves? For me, breastfeeding has put me through an emotional roller coaster and when you already feel insecure it doesn't take much to tip you over the edge. In our journey, it didn't help to have health care professionals rammed down our throats and judge my every move. Most of the time they have never had children, have never experienced our situation, were uneducated on our situation or had a lack of knowledge about breastfeeding. Now that sounds like I am slating the NHS and its workers. So I want to set one thing straight, I love the NHS and think the majority of its workers work extremely hard and are passionate about their patients. I feel very lucky and privileged to live in a country where my healthcare is free and no matter what, I can always get help.

My comments refer to the minority, I unluckily came into contact with. I do not feel that these individuals are at fault, I feel there should be more investment into the NHS so that more training can be offered. Healthcare professionals need to be trained to understand the patients they come into contact with and their needs. Granted they cannot know about every illness, disability or issue and someone will always be their first, but why is there not active education so that from the first meeting of that patient, the professional can be trained on how to support them. I can talk about this forever but my blogs aren't about politics and that's what these issues seem to boil down to.

It's a shame that when you are trying to do the best for your child, you are sometimes treated like a complete idiot, when in fact you know them better than anyone and they should be listening to you about how to care for them. When Charlotte and I were in hospital and when we attend appointments, I run rings around the doctors with information, I can real it off without even thinking about it because I know Charlotte and her needs. I have done the research to back it up and even better I have lived it. There is no better experience than first hand. 

The one good thing about my experience is that if we are unlucky enough to have another baby with rhesus incompatibility, I will understand the condition and understand what our baby needs. I will be telling the midwives to get me a feeding cup, hunt for a breast pump and jump on it multiple times a day, for as long as possible because I will know best.

I will be telling them what to do, why? Knowledge is power and it gives you confidence, knowing what you are talking about. That is the reason for writing my post and this one, to give another mum out there the confidence to go with her gut instinct and give her the confidence to fight for her child. Hopefully they will have an easier experience than we have. 

I believe the main reasons for my difficulty in supply, are due to the important missed opportunities to pump and feed in the early days. I am told that breastmilk is about supply and demand, so why was it I could never increase my supply and have surplus available. I have also desperately needed medication and supplements to keep my milk going. 

If we do have another baby, we should know during pregnancy if our baby is rhesus incompatible and so with this knowledge, I plan to start establishing my supply before I give birth. When I was around 32 weeks pregnant with Charlotte, I started leaking colostrum and every midwife I spoke to recommend that I stimulated my milk as apparently it does something to the uterus which helps with labour and feeding after. Now don't quote me on this but my second stage of labour was so fast so I will definitely be doing it again next time.  

With Charlotte, I started stimulating at 35 weeks by gently massaging breast until my milk flowed.  I was able to get a couple of 1ml syringes in the freezer. Doing this a lot more next time, I should hopefully have a good little supply to take into hospital with me in place of the bottles of cow and gate I took last time. Also my milk should be well established for when the baby is born. I hope armed and dangerous, I shall be a lot better equipped to handle a poorly baby and by that time a toddler/child (depending on how old Charlotte is) as well, God help me!

Well that's enough about the future, as for now we are not even considering another baby, no matter how much my body is telling me I want one :). Charlotte still has a lot going on with her reflux and suspected allergies and requires a lot of my time. She is the most important person and I am going to enjoy every bit of her and being her mum. I want things to settle down and her to be of an age where she will understand why mummy's not around, if it comes to that. I want to be a part of it and be able to explain  that mummy has to go in to hospital so the doctors can make the baby in her tummy better. At this moment in time, she still needs me so much and depends on me. She loves her feeds and her mummy cuddles, why should she have to share that or not have me around to give that to her. I would be selfish to take that from her.

For now we are still feeding and as of today, I am now expressing once a day for 15 minutes. I am in the process of debating whether to continue expressing but reduce the time or stop expressing all together. My concern is that I could loose my milk if I stop expressing as Charlotte breast feeds so inconsistently. Some days she feeds really well, in the morning when she wakes up, before and after nap time, before bed and sometimes once or twice through the night. Other times I am lucky if is she feeds for more than a couple of seconds. She can continue either way for a few days and in that time my milk could stop all together. 

The fact is, Charlotte is not dependent on my milk anymore. Food and cows milk can sustain her,  when she eats that is, but that's for another blog.  So  the main question is am I ready? If Charlotte doesn't feed then my milk will eventually go naturally but I love our feeding time.

I know I have done amazingly to get her this far but emotionally am I ready to stop? In this last week we have had issues with Charlotte clamping down while feeding. She now has four teeth, two at the top and two at the bottom, so its like a piranha feeding. This made me consider for the first time to stop feeding all together. My nipples are sore and bleeding and I hurt at the thought of her feeding. I always break the seal of her latch and try swapping sides to stop her biting me. This normally helps and most the time works to get her to stop. She's not doing it maliciously but still not at all comfortable. 

I was originally expressing three times a day for 40 minutes each time. Since dropping two of the pumping sessions and reducing the time spent pumping, my family life has drastically improved. I spent so much time on the pump that my family was affected. If it wasn't Charlotte crying at my legs in a morning , it was missing out on spending time with Ricky and Charlotte in the evening  when he got home from work or being so exhausted at night but having to stay awake to pump. It got to  stage that we all loathed the pump and the time it  was stealing from our lives.  In total, I spent 2 hours a day pumping. 

In the early days, pumping for 2 hours a day or more made sense as I was giving Charlotte that liquid gold but when we started introducing cows milk there was very little of my milk in her bottle. At the moment, I am pumping less than two ounces a day which is being divided amongst  her three 4 ounce  bottles, so  what  I am I really doing it for? That's  15 extra minutes that Charlotte could have her mummy. Granted it doesn't have that big an impact as I tend to pump while Daddy is giving Charlotte her tea.  

Knowing all of this, it is still emotionally hard for me to deal with the thought of my milk stopping. How will I cope with that? There is also the issue that Charlotte struggles with food and doesn't always eat. As long as my milk is available, she is having some sustenance and how can I forget the benefits of continued breastfeeding.  She is still being given all sorts of antibodies to protect her. 

For now, I still can't decide and after forgetting to express yesterday, with being so busy, my breasts hurt today. Clearly, I am still producing to much milk to just stop expressing so I am going to continue to express, but reduce it down so that it affects my family life as little as possible.  Plus I still want my perfect little lady to have the best. 

That's why I know "Breastfeeding isn't just about Milk, It's about
Love". 

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<![CDATA["I Want Summer & I Want It Now" Imagination Matters - Summer]]>Wed, 17 Jun 2015 23:04:55 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/i-want-the-summer-i-want-it-now-imagination-matters-summer
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This weeks  #Imagination Matters is a Summer theme, we have been doing  lots of lovely things and making the most of the gorgeous weather. 

Here's what we've been doing...
We started our week with some yummy Fruit Kebabs. Charlotte really struggles with food and texture due to her Reflux but thought some fresh fruit on these hot days, might tempt her in to trying some. She had a little taste which is better than nothing but we had lots of fun making the Kababs. 

Even though she didn't eat alot of the fruit she touched it which I think is good for her to get used to how it feels. 

If your child is like mine or doesn't like fruit, don't worry about the waste as there are lots of ideas  you can do with the leftovers.
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Fruit Kababs
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Summer Fruit Crumble
With our left over kebab fruit, I chopped it  into smaller pieces and threw it into a pan, added sugar and with Charlotte's help threw together an easy crumble. 

All you need is:
160g Flour
60g  Butter
60g Sugar

Mix it together with your hands into a breadcrumb consistency. Once fruit has softened pour into a bowl and pour the crumble mixture on top.  Cook until golden.  Serve with custard. 

We also had lots more apples leftover too, so I also made a yummy apple crumble which is Ricky's favourite :) happy Daddy. 





With the remaining Bananas  we made some Banana Muffins. With Charlotte's allergies  and reflux we are always looking for new things to try. These went down a treat and were really soft and easy to eat. I must say I really enjoyed them too.


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Banana Muffins
Recipe
4 very ripe large pealed Bananas
75g Melted Butter
125g Sugar 
1 Beaten Egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1  tablespoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
200g all-purpose flour (we used free-from self-raising)

Preheat the oven 190°C

In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.

Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour.

Pour the batter into buttered muffin tin. Bake for  10 minutes  and do  knife test until clean. 

Remove from oven and cool completely on a rack. 


THEN came the exciting part... THE SUN :)
We got straight into the garden to enjoy it.
I'm calling this activity Ice Splash.

I made some coloured ice using food colouring.  When it was completely frozen, I emptied into a food bag so I could fill the tray with another colour. 

I then emptied the bag of ice into a plastic box and we had lots of fun in the paddling pool with it. 

The idea with the coloured ice is  that it changes the colour of the water as you play. Our pink paddling pool doesn't make it easier to see. Charlotte loved touching the ice and watching it melt in the water. Its was also a cold and refreshing  mouthful. Its was such a great activity and well worth doing. 
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Ice Splash
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Ball Play
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Sand Play
We also set up a sand pit on her tray in the garden. She loved playing with the sand in the sun and had lots of fun seeing the texture change when we added water or let it dry out in the sun. 

Thanks for reading, tune in next week for  the Circus theme. 
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]]>
<![CDATA[I make milk, What's your Superpower? Our Breastfeeding Story]]>Mon, 15 Jun 2015 21:44:57 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/i-make-milk-whats-your-superpower-our-breastfeeding-story
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PictureOur first ever feed - me looking fabulously awful. I love this picture though.
Breastfeeding has been a tough journey for Charlotte and  I.  Most of the difficulty has stemmed from her Rhesus Incompatibility. If you would like to read about Charlotte's condition or read about Rhesus Incompatibility, read my earlier blog post What is Rhesus Incompatibility?
When I was pregnant Breastfeeding just wasn't a big deal, I mean I wanted to give it a go but I bought all the equipment needed if I changed my mind or if it just didn't work for me. The plan was to not put any pressure on myself and see how it went. I even took mini bottles of cow and gate in my hospital bag, just in case, as I wasn't going to allow anyone to tell  me what or how to feed my baby. I knew having my own formula would stop the interfering  midwives  I had heard about. 

When Charlotte was born, she latched like a dream. It seemed like we were both a natural, however after she just slept. Anyone would think I had a perfect baby but in reality it was the jaundice that was making her so sleepy. 


Hours after her first feed, when other babies on the ward were screaming with hunger, Charlotte just slept and looked so blissful.  At the time I didn't want to disturb her, you know that saying 'never disturb a sleeping baby'. When you give birth to your child its an overwhelming, indescribable sense of love. You just want to hold and stare and kiss them all over. The fact that you carried this most perfect creature inside you, created them and gave birth to them seems unbelievable  and dreamlike. I just kept thinking how can someone this perfect be my baby. 

After a while it didn't seem right that she hadn't woken for a feed, especially after some babies were now on their third or fourth feed. As soon as I saw  her move, desperate to hold her again,  I scooped her up and tried to get her to latch but she just wouldn't wake. So after a long cuddle, I put her  down accepting that birth  must have been exhausting for her and hoped that she would eventually wake through the night or  tomorrow  with avengeance.  So I decided to get some sleep while I could. 

Eventually she did stir through the night but she just woke with a little cry, she just didn't have the energy to give anything else. I picked her up but she just drifted back off, she just wouldn't wake to feed and when she did, she just couldn't latch before falling back to sleep again.

Early the next day, things hadn't improved and  after many blood tests, the nurse explained that Charlotte's bilirubin levels were rising  and the doctors decided she needed  phototherapy. The nurse moved us into a side ward so she could start treatment.  Soon after   my mum popped in, while she was dropping Daddy off to see us, she explained how important it was to get Charlotte to feed. Luckily,  my Mum   is a neonatal sister and is used to babies with Charlotte's condition and  having difficulty feeding. She explained how Charlotte needed to feed to excrete the bilirubin out of her system. She told me that without this, she would eventually be moved to the Special Care Unit and would need IV fluids while she was under the light. 

The thought of having her taken away from me was terrifying. I needed her to be with me and I couldn't cope with the thought of us being apart.  I realised, that Charlotte wasn't just sleepy, she was unresponsive and her little  body was using all its energy to fight.   I had no choice, I had to introduce formula. It was so disheartening that I had to introduce it so early. After Charlotte's first feed, I knew how amazing being able to feed her was. I was doing something that noone else could do for her. My body was making liquid gold that was produced just for her. I had no  intention of giving that up but I had to try the formula. I would rather my baby get better quickly than risk us being parted and allowing her to get worse.

Without hesitation and with tears rolling down my face, I popped a teat on a cow and gate bottle and tried to get her to take it but even that didn't work. She couldn't suck and just slept. We tried everything; stripping her down, water on her face, bare bum, tickling her feet and cheeks, rubbing the teat on her lips - NOTHING WORKED!   I remember begging the midwife to help. In 24 hours she had 10mls   (1/3 of an ounce)  of milk. She just wouldn't wake to be fed and I didn't know what to do. The midwives response was so upsetting "at least she's had something". Even as a new mum I knew this wasn't right, how could it be. My child wasn't feeding. How could the midwife think this was okay considering her bilirubin levels. 

That evening, my Mum came to see us again during visiting hours, she gave me all kinds of suggestions to try and wake her, which didn't work.  I was so upset, I handed Charlotte to my mum and asked her to try. Even with all her years of experience, she couldn't get her to feed.  She asked the midwives for a feeding cup and shown me how to cup feed. She also asked for a Breastpump which was brought into my room. My mum gave me the advice the midwives should of, saying that I should pump every time she won't feed and that way I will have the milk available for her as she gets better. She told me that if Charlotte didn't feed and I didn't pump, I would eventually loose my milk and I needed one or the other to establish my milk supply. 
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Charlotte's first cup feed
I was very lucky to be able to keep the pump in my room, using the Medela Symphony and requesting a second pumping kit from the midwives allowed me to double pump.  Due to Charlotte's lack of feeding, I started using the pump after only 24 hours.   

The next day when the Midwife came in to check on us, she asked how I was using the pump.  I  told her I was expressing to start my milk flow before I offered Charlotte a feed and I was  expressing after she finished. She told me not to do that as my breasts would get over engorged and my body would think it was feeding twins. Thinking back I don't know how, as Charlotte wasn't feeding well and the only thing establishing my milk was the pump. 

Listening to the midwife, I started to express for a short time only. looking back now,  I'm sorry I did as I could of established a good supply pumping alot more. Especially with Charlotte's lack of feeding as even when she was offered the breast she would only latch for a short period of time if at all. I expressed for 10 minutes before and after a each feed, offering Charlotte the breast in between. I would then feed her whatever milk I had expressed and top her up with formula, giving her 60mls in total which is what my mum calculated a baby of Charlotte's age and size needed. I had to literally force feed her as she was so exhausted and couldn't suck. Force feeding with the cup was the only way to get her to take the milk and I was determined to get her healthy as I knew to well what would happen if she didn't. 

I set alarms every two hours to feed her as she didn't wake by herself. The more she fed the easier it became to arouse her as her bilirubin levels  started to drop, with the help of the light and the milk, it gave her the energy she needed to stay awake for a little while. 
After feeding  it was really important to get Charlotte back under the light but  she hated being put down, she wanted comfort from Mummy and I wanted to comfort her. It  killed me to watch her cry and quickly exhaust herself. She was desperate for contact and so was we. Poor Daddy couldn't even get close to her as it was more important for her to be under the light. Daddy would hold her hand to soothe her which helped but when Daddy had to go home and I had to express, she needed something else. We decided to give her a dummy to calm her when she was under the light.  I knew it wasn't recommended for Breastfeeding but Charlotte came first. 
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After 3 days under phototherapy, I was finally able to take my gorgeous daughter off the light  and for the first time get her dressed.  When I gave birth, my Mum dressed Charlotte while I took a shower and with the phototherapy starting the day after  she was born, I only got the opportunity to undress her.  

Getting her dressed, I got so emotional, being told that I could finally hold my gorgeous girl for as long as I wanted, it seemed so sereal. It felt so precious to finally hold her properly and not be worried about the time she had been out of the light. She was mine and I could hold her tiny body close, smell and touch her and finally enjoy it. Sadly, it was late at night when I got this wonderful news and visiting hours had ended for Daddy. So after she was dressed we facetimed him, so he could share in this precious moment. I balled my eyes out holding her  and telling him about it. 
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PictureKnitted breast courtesy of Google
On day two, my milk came in and hit me like a ton of bricks. My breasts were so sore and tender.  The only thing that helped was a warm shower to ease  the discomfort and pressure.  

Still struggling to get Charlotte to feed, we had a visit from the Breastfeeding co'ordinator who was next to useless.  She carried a knitted breast around  with her, which made me feel about 10 years old, as I found it highly amusing and couldn't take her seriously. 

She wanted to see Charlotte feed so she could advise me or tell me where I was going wrong as she put it. She hadn't even see me feed my baby yet and was already assuming I was doing something wrong. Seeing her asleep she offered to come back later. I told her about Charlotte's condition and that I needed to wake her anyway as she was due a feed.  At this point  I could already feel her eyes judging me and Charlotte's dummy being eye balled but she said nothing and  continued anyway.  

She was  obsessed with  the rugby hold position and pushed Charlotte so far under my arm, we both needed a ridiculous amount of pillows to support us.  Charlotte was screaming  as she hated the position and it was uncomfortable for me too. It was so frustrating as the first bit  of energy she had was being wasted doing this. We could never continue this at home either,  as without the support of the electric hospital bed, I would never have enough pillows even if we borrowed the neighbours.  Charlotte then stopped screaming and went straight to sleep and I had missed the important opportunity to feed her. The co'ordinator told me to put her down and wait until she woke again, as feeding should apparently be at her demand.  I told her that we did not have that luxury as Charlotte did not demand to be fed and hardly cried due to being so tired. 

 She clearly had no idea what I was talking about and kept insisting on demand feeding. Realising I wasn't going to listen to her and that I was already reaching for a bottle and pump, she tried talking me into hand expressing. She showed me the area to apply pressure to get my  milk to flow and as soon as she saw a drip she left. 

Trying to make an effort, I continued to try  to hand express but with little to nothing coming off and concious that I was wasting precious time when Charlotte needed to feed, I jumped on the pump and continued my usual routine. 

I hated the visiting hours, I felt so alone being without Ricky. I wanted to be able to talk things through with him and him to share some of the responsibilities. Having a baby is so exhausting and usually you are at home within 24 hours  to have support and much needed rest but being in hospital you never rest.  If you don't have to feed or change the baby, just as you are dozing off, someone will walk into the room to check on something.  I think its such a stupid system that you can't have  your partner with you.

After  4 days in hospital and alot of arguments with Doctors and Nurses to get information,  our little princess and I were discharged to go home. We were given folic acid to help Charlotte's blood condition which she had to take each morning.  We were still struggling with feeding but we had our alarms set, feeding cup in hand and was filled with pride at being able to take our gorgeous girl home. We finally got our  bounty pictures taken too, while Charlotte was under the light they kept saying 'I'll come back' which was so upsetting as I felt we were loosing precious time to caption them memories of her being this small.  Needless to say we bought all of the precious photos, thanks to my mum.

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Family Bounty Portait
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 When we got home, we continued with the strict feeding schedule,  setting alarms to wake our baby and making sure she was fed.  Since the phototherapy had stopped, I didn't have to restrict her breastfeeding as much and started to allow her to feed as she wanted, when she wanted and for how long she wanted. I just topped her up afterwards with formula to make sure she was feeding well and waking regularly. 

The next day,  she was even  put in her pram in natural sunlight as we were told that would help  keep her levels stay reduced.  We wanted to take any opportunity to keep her  at home and well. 

Later that morning, the midwife came to see how we were doing. Straight away the finger was pointed at me, as  Charlotte hadn't regained her birth weight and even though she hadn't lost any weight, except for the initial loss that most babies loose after birth but she still wasn't happy and said that Charlotte should have gained alot more. It was so annoying that she didn't seem to take what she had been through into account.  I was quizzed about how I fed her and  how I needed to make sure one breast is empty before I switched her to the next, even though I had already told her that was what I was already doing, when she asked how we were getting on. 

She decided that due to her colour, she wanted to take a blood sample to have her bilirubin levels checked. She eventually  left, leaving me to feel like the worst mother ever and even more concerned about Charlotte. After giving Charlotte a feed and putting her in the sun again under Daddy's watchful eye. Ricky ran me a bath and told me that I needed to relax as I was no good to Charlotte being this distressed. 

Begrudging leaving Charlotte, I eventually agreed to have a little soak in the bath. The next thing I remember was waking up to find Ricky coming through the bathroom door with Charlotte in one hand and phone in the other. He said that the midwife  needed to speak to me about Charlotte's  levels.  I was so exhausted I had fell asleep in the bath but I was definitely awake now. 

Speaking to the midwife, she explained that  Charlotte's bilirubin levels had spiked and she was now hitting exchange levels which were extremely dangerous and Charlotte needed to return to hospital where a bed would be waiting for her. Hysterically crying down the phone, I  agreed to get Charlotte ready and pack a bag. They told us not to rush in as it would take a little time to organise the bed. With tears rolling down my face I took my little princess in my arms and took her to have her first  bath.  Feeling like we had already lost to much time, I was determined her first bath would be at home. 

The next moment the phone rang again, Ricky answered and was told that there wasn't a bed available at North Manchester and we would have to go to Oldham Hospital instead.  I was hysterical again. I had a bad experience as a teenager at Oldham and I was terrified of my little girl going there. I started panicking that she would never come home.  It might sound daft thinking this way but at the time, I couldn't get my experience out of my head and my precious little baby couldn't go there. 

After getting back on the phone, it was arranged that we  could in fact go to North Manchester. We were lucky that a bed had just become available  and it was now waiting for us. With this news, I was finally able to calm down and hold my little girl again. I gave her a bath, wrapped her in a towel and held her close for a feed. I just stared at my poorly helpless baby and couldn't hold back the tears. The moments that should have been so precious and we should of been enjoying, were taken over with fear and worry.  

When we got to the hospital, Charlotte's levels were checked again and they weren't as bad as they initially thought however she still needed phototheraphy. On the children's ward, Charlotte was stripped down, placed in an incubator and had an overhead  light and a biliblanket (a light pad that sat underneath her).  It was awful seeing her in an incubator but it was the best place for her as it kept her warm while she was having the therapy.  It's only going through this that you realise how much energy your body uses to do every little task, even keeping herself warm would of taken  energy that she needed to defend herself. 

As it was so  important for Charlotte to be under the light, I became even stricter with her feeding  schedule.  I wrote down every feed; when she had it, how  long it took and noted nappy changes, as I knew it would all benefit her recovery. I knew the quicker I could feed her, the quicker she could go back under the light and hopefully eventually come home. 

 I found myself trying to breastfeed her less and express more.  I  would always give her the expressed milk first and then switch to the formula  when it was gone. I still couldn't produce enough expressed breast milk to solely feed her myself. I continued to go on the pump before and after but sadly, I wasn't as lucky as I was on post-natal ward as the only pump available was  a Medela Lactina pump which was old and wasn't powerful enough to  pump both breasts, which meant it took even longer to express.  It was so upsetting that I still had to give Charlotte formula as I hoped I would be producing enough for her by now but I had to do what was best for her.  With every drop of formula that I gave her, I felt myself getting more distressed that it wasn't my milk. I so badly just wanted to put her to my breast and just feed her "normally",  exclusively. I envied any mother that could. I loved holding and feeding her but I knew the bottle top ups were the best thing for her. 

The next day Charlotte was taken off  phototherapy  and we were allowed to get her dressed and have cuddles again. 
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Daddy enjoying a cuddle after a feed, while mummy expresses.
We were finally able to enjoy breastfeeding again. Although I still topped her up, I was able to go back to letting her feed like she wanted. Not that she fed for long as she was still very  sleepy but it was nice to be able to enjoy it for a little longer.  I just let her feed until she had enough and then  topped her up with a bottle feed, using whatever breastmik was available and using formula afterwards. I  continued to make the most of the pump  and take off any remaining milk from my breasts after each feed to help with my supply. 

On 5th March, my birthday, at  8pm, we were told we could finally go home. After being in hospital 3 days  and 24 hours of  phototherapy, Charlotte's levels were once again stable enough for us to go home.  It was the best birthday present I could ask for.  I still felt concerned that we would have to return  but I was so relieved  we could finally sleep in our own beds and I would be able to have Ricky helping me.

When we got home,  feeding continued to be difficult. It didn't help with the back and forth visits to the hospital, most of which were orchestrated by the midwife's. They were obsessed with her slow weight gain and skin colour. Even the hospital got annoyed and wrote them a letter asking them to back off. They  clearly didn't understand Charlotte's condition or that it would take a long time  for things to normalise.  They were obsessed at pointing the finger and blaming me for why things were continuing. My poor little baby went through more blood tests than necessary to appease the midwife's. 

After a few weeks, my nipples became so sensitive and sore and I noticed white dots appearing on Charlotte tongue. That morning when the midwife visited she confirmed we both had thrush and she advised that  me to contact the doctors and arrange a prescription to be left.  The doctors were useless and after a few wrongly prescribed things  we finally got what we needed. 

After a few days of using the gel, I still seemed to be in a lot of pain and noticed red, hard and sore lumps appearing on my breast.  Charlotte's tongue was so sensitive from the oral thrush her feeding had become  even more erratic than usual and because of this I developed  Mastitis.  It was so painful and I felt so  poorly.  I expressed as much as I could trying to empty my breast each time. I applied warm flannels to my breast  and took regular showers applying the warm shower head directly to my breasts which massively helped ease the discomfort. I also got Charlotte to feed from me after expressing  allowing her to drain every last bit of milk and ease the tenderness. Within 2 days, I was doing so much better and thankfully I didn't need antibiotics. I applied the gel religiously to my nipples after feeds and showers and  give Charlotte the medication as prescribed and soon everything cleared up and we were back to normal.

Thankfully the Jaundice had resolved itself by now, however  as the antibodies were still attacking her blood cells, she developed anaemia and although Charlotte was finally breastfeeding longer, she still was falling asleep at the breast and struggling to feed.  I was still topping her up but she was struggling with that too and if we pushed her too far she  was sick. This was even more distressing as we knew how important it was for her to feed, particularly with the midwife's on our backs over her weight. 

During the night, I breastfeed and then Ricky would take over  to try and get her to take a bottle while I expressed.  She was now able to suckle a bit better so the bottle was more comfortable then pouring milk down her throat, however if she didn't finish the bottle we had to cup feed the rest. It was so distressing, it felt like we were hurting her. She seems so uncomfortable feeding. When I breast fed her she would only stay latched if  I was over engorged.  Eventually, we were able to stop using the cup and relax a little bit but she started to refuse the bottle and was sick with most feeds. 

Things started to get worse when she wouldn't breastfeed either and I starting to panic as she would be on and off the breast. She would feed for less than a minute, arching her back as she fed and then stop shrilling like she was in pain.  She seemed to constantly have hiccups  and make a funny sound at the back of her throat. 

I begged the midwife's for help but got no where except for being told to make sure she was emptying one breast first and continue as I was going. I knew something  wasn't right, so after searching the internet to try and find something that would help her, I came across colic which some of her symptoms seemed to match the description of. 

Armed with information, I went to the GP and we were given  all sorts of medication to try,  Infacol, colic  drops, you name it, none  of it worked. The only thing that helped a little was colief. I  also started to worry about my supply and I was concerned that I stopped feeling full.  Obviously, the heavy feeling had gone away now that my milk was fully in   but  you still get a full feeling when you hadn't fed in a little while. I wasn't getting that anymore and all Charlotte would do when she went to feed was cry.  She now wouldn't take anything else and it was scary as she needed to gain more weight quicker.  

We decided to try a new milk cow and gate comfort milk, in the hope that it would settle things. I continued to breastfeed but  when she struggle we would offer her new milk.   I also went back to the doctors and was prescribed Domperidone and bought Fenugreek capsules to help with my diminishing  supply.  

After 2 weeks, when Charlotte was 3 months old,  I noticed a  massive difference and was finally able to pump alot more milk and started to feel full once again. Although the comfort milk seemed to help at first, things continued to get worse and Charlotte was now being sick alot more and once again started to refuse her milk.

After no help from any health care professional, I took to the internet again and found something called  Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) the symptoms matched Charlotte perfectly.  I instantly changed her milk to cow and gate reflux milk and noticed a massive difference.  I will do another blog post at a later date to talk about reflux and our experience.  

It all finally made sense, she had reflux all along. I contacted her consultant and she prescribed Charlotte Gaviscon and Ranitidine. Suddenly, everything started to get a little better, she still struggled but she was back to feeding again. She did however go back to refusing the formula but thankfully I was now producing enough breastmilk to exclusively feed her by breast and bottle. She was so much comfier on my milk than anything else but we couldn't get her to drink any more than 4ozs and even that was difficult. I continued to offer her the breast first and then the expressed bottle after but it was always a battle of wills fighting between the screams to take her milk and then cleaning up the projectile vomiting afterwards. It was so frustrating that none of it was easy for any of us. I used to sit there with my head in my hands crying as I didn't know what to do. 

At 4 months, Charlotte went on a milk strike a refused to feed, when she did feed she would only feed from the breast and not for very long. I was at my whitsend and was getting no help from anyone. I contacted my health visitor who told me she would send a nursery nurse round to the house the next day to see how she was feeding. This seemed ridiculous as she knew I am a trained nursery nurse. What would this woman tell me that I didn't already know. I just felt fobbed off but accepted her only offer in sheer desperation.

Two weeks later, I got a voicemail from the so called nursery nurse to find out  if I still needed her. TWO WEEKS! what a joke, I didn't bother returning her call, I had struggled all this time with no help, what was the point in calling her back when she couldnt even be bothered to come round and see us as promised. The health visitor had heard my tears and desperate cries for help and this was the best they could do. What was the point? I would only be accused of doing something wrong anyway.

We had a hospital appointment later that week and I was eager to speak to the consultant as Charlotte was increasingly being sick. At the appointment, the consultant told me to continue what I was doing and agreed to prescribe domperidone to help with the sickness. 

This did improve things but at 5 1/2 months I had no choice but to try and wean her, I held on for that long but after days of refusal to feed. I had to do something. The consultant upped her donperidone and we started baby rice. We went slow and steady and food seemed to be more comfortable than than milk. I continued to breastfeed throughout the day on demand and offering expressed bottles to give her medication but the food was the only reason she continued to gain weight slowly.  As we got further into weaning and her medication was increased again, feeding started to become more comfortable for her. We still had bad days but life was finally better.  

Charlotte is now 15 months old and although we have had our ups and downs we are still breastfeeding. In the last month, I have reduced expressing and replaced the bottled milk with cows milk. She wouldn't take this at first so we mixed it with the breastmilk slowly increasing the amounts of cows milk and reducing the breastmilk which has worked wonders. 

I am now expressing once a day for 20 minutes which keeps my supply available. Charlotte feeds in the morning, naptime and before bed but she is inconsistent. For the time being, I plan to continue expressing but keep reducing the time I express slowly and to eventually to about 10 minutes. This should keep enough milk for the occasional feeds but if and when Charlotte chooses that our journey is over, I will be sad to see it go but I will stop. 

I love our feeds together and it is so lovely to be able to bring her comfort and have that special bonding time together but I know that even with our struggles I have done amazingly to get Charlotte to this point. My original plan was to get her to 6 months, as I thought I would loose my milk but when we got past that and 12 months was my next goal. If I could get her any further it would be a bonus. I am proud to be a breastfeeding mum and I know I am so lucky to be able to do it. I would love to have another baby and if I am lucky enough, I plan to breastfeed them too. The problem is now that it has become so important to me to be able to breastfeed that I will probably put so much pressure on myself but only time will tell what the future will hold. 

For now, I am enjoying Charlotte, our wonderful bond and our occasional feeds. I have learnt so much from feeding her and hope that this blog can be a support for anyone struggling or doubting themselves. I hope it lets you know that you can do it too. It will be hard but its definitely worth it. 

If any mum out there is experiencing any of the issues raised in this blog, please contact me. I would love to hear from you and be able to share any tips I have learnt or be an ear to listen. I felt so alone going through all of this and it has been awful, please don't feel alone. 

Remember you are a Superhero and a hero to your child whatever happens.
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Adventures of a Novice Mum
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<![CDATA[Get off Your Bums Mums - Imagination Matters - At Sea]]>Wed, 10 Jun 2015 15:42:32 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/get-off-your-bums-mums-imagination-matters-at-sea
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This week we have been set a challenge by @mamavsteacher to take part in the #ImaginationMatters Linky. Imagination Matters, offers opportunities to write posts about creative activities you've done as a family, around weekly themes. This weeks theme is At Sea. Charlotte and I, have been inspired to come up with lots of inventive things to do around this.  

When I read abour
#ImaginationMatters, I really wanted us to take part as I thought it would actively encourage us to do more things together. I mean of course we already paint, play in the garden, do water play etc, but some weeks we are more active than others. Admittedly, some weeks I am just plain lazy or too exhausted but I don't think a splash in the bath is always good enough. Charlotte needs more not only for her development but for keeping occupied and to keep me sane :).  

Having lazy days or being tired  is of course okay. We are all guilty of it, but being a stay at home mum, I want to give Charlotte a learning rich environment with opportunities to support her development and make sure I am spending quality time with her. Yes housework needs doing but Charlotte needs me to. What better way to encourage this and give us both experiences and make memories, than to do it through play. Imagination matters gives me a reason to get off my bum and spend time with my daughter.

As Charlotte is now 15 months old, she is able to understand alot more of what is going on and is curious about everything. She loves getting stuck in and getting dirty, so centring everything around the At Sea theme this week has been really interesting. Normally we do at least one activity each week but this week we have done something everyday which has been lovely. I've loved  spending so much quality time with her and admiring all the lovely things we've made.  

You don't realise as a parent, that even though you are with your child, you are not always spending quality time with them. Yes its important to encourage your child be independent but they need the quality time with you for social interaction - especially if they are an only child, speech development, motor skills, physical development and much more. Doing these activities I have already noticed how much more she's speaking or trying to, how her ability to hold a paint brush has improved and how much fun she's had.


So here's what we got up to...
After all the painting we did, Charlotte actually got fed up.

We made goldfish bowls, an Under the Sea painting & an Octopus mobile. 

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We made cheese biscuits  and Charlotte ate lots of cheese. She had lots of fun making a mess and playing with the ingredients. It was a great activity but the house did look like a flour mill had exploded afterwards. Cleaning up was a bit chaotic but it was worth it.

Here the recipe if you want to have a go:

Recipe 
100g (4oz) plain flour
50g (2oz) butter
The yolk from a medium egg
5 tablespoons of cold water
75g (3oz) Grated Cheddar Cheese

190 
° C, 375° C or gas mark 5


Combine all the ingredients saving some egg yolk and cheese for the end.  
Once mixture is combined, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 30mins. 
Once chilled, cut shapes, brush with remaining egg yolk and sprinkle with cheese (if you ave any left because you have a daughter who ate it all - note to self get a BIG bag of cheese next time) 
Place in the oven for 12 mins until golden. 
Leave to cool on a rack. 


Once cool, eat them all up, their yummy.
 (We used mature cheddar but use whatever you prefer). 


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We also went to Boomerang Multi-Sensory Play Centre, where we attend Pea Pods classes. We had a summer party and did lots of splashing in the water with  the sea animals.
http://www.boomerangcentre.co.uk/

To read more about Boomerang, heres a blog post  I did a few weeks ago about it. You will also be able to read about the wonderful Pea Pods:  
http://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/boomerang-multi-sensory-play-centre


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Mummy cut fish shapes out while Charlotte smushed them and made coral  (or that's what I'm calling it).
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Not having a sandpit didn't stop us we made our own makeshift sandpit with a bag of sand and a cheap box from Argos. 

We had a great time taking part in Imagination Matters and can't wait to start next weeks theme, Summer. Tune in again next week to see what adventures we get up to.

What have you been up to this last week?


Mamavsteacher
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
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Raising money for Little Princess Trust
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Boomerang Multi-Sensory Play Centre
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<![CDATA[Tots Bots Reusable Nappy Review]]>Thu, 04 Jun 2015 12:24:38 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/totsbotsnappyreview
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We have been reviewing the Tots Bots Easyfit V4 Hey Diddle Diddle nappy for over two months now.  We are very lucky to have been sent this nappy from Tots Bots and its a beautiful print. I love the detail in the design and how it tells the story of the nursery rhyme.

The nappy is Hook & Loop Fastening, which is basically a velcro waist and has poppers to adjust to fit the size of the child. It has bamboo, cotton and minky blend fabric interior and fits from 8lbs to 35lbs.

It has very soft fabric on the outside and has a good stretch to fit round the waist.

Here is a little video from Tots Bots about their V2 version. This nappy is slightly different in its fabric components but gives you a good idea about the layout of the nappy, as the V4 version is also an all in one nappy which means the boosters are all attached. the video also models the velcro and poppers. 
As you open the nappy you can see how the booster is stuffed in the back pocket. If you pull this out you will notice an additional booster attached with poppers for extra absorbency. This can be removed and easily reattached if needed. Personally I leave it attached as I know Charlotte's bum will be dryer for longer. 
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Now onto my experience with this nappy. When it arrived it came very well packaged and beautifully laid out. You will see from the pictures below how the nappy is ready to put straight on the bum however for absorbency reasons I would suggest washing first. Tots bots recommend 40 degrees for wet and 60 degrees for soiled with non bio powder. For tips on storing and washing dirty nappies watch this Tots Bots video. 
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I wash at 60 with all my other nappies with fairy non bio. I would recommend sticking the sticky parts of the velcro together, as it does have a tendency to stick to anything it can. What I was impressed with is that you can dry the nappy in the dryer on low. This makes life so much easier. I do generally dry my nappies on a clothes airer but this nappy is better in the dryer as the boosters and inner part of the nappy can get very rough. I have noticed that even with drying the bamboo is still very rough and so I have started to leave the booster unstuffed, with minky side up next to Charlotte skin (this is the soft fluffy side). 

For storing my dirty nappies, I have two buckets with mesh liners. This is a great system as when one bucket is full, I remove the mesh bag, place it straight into the washing machine, take the bucket straight to the bathroom soaking it in the bath with Cillit Bang foam and rinse it out 30 mins or so later. This prevents and removes any smells and while its drying the other bucket is ready to use. 

Now this is my system and you don't actually need two buckets but this is what works for us and I know that Charlotte's room is smell free and also know that any bacteria has been killed. I would recommend that if you use my method, that you thoroughly rinse your bucket after using any detergent or cleaning agent as you don't want it to affect your nappies. 

I have two different types of buckets one that came with my Baba & Boo Bundle and the other is a Tots Bots click lid that I bought from The Nappy Lady website. I must say I do prefer Tots Bots Nappy Bucket. The click lid means that Charlotte cannot open it and it also makes it easier bringing the bucket downstairs to the washing machine when it is full. I also use wet bags for when we are out of the house. 

So back to the Nappy...
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Pros
  • Easy to wash, 
  • Can go in the dryer, 
  • Easy to fit,
  • Extra booster keeps babies bums dryer for longer,
  • Can be worn right through to potty training,
  • Beautiful designs and prints that still look great after multiple washes,
  • Versitile as you can choose to stuff the nappy or leave the insert folded ontop. 
  • Amazing nappy bucket that stops tiny hands from messing. 
Cons
  • Minky material gets very rough after a few washes, 
  • Naughty little hands can open the velcro. 
The main issue I have found with the velcro nappy is that Charlotte can open it herself. This makes nappy changes very fun as she can open it quicker than I can put it on. Just a warning for anyone, CHANGE BUMS FAST. I don't think this will be a problem with the teenyfit as children will be much younger. 
The nappy is very easy to fit, I fasten the velcro first and then adjust the poppers to fit Charlotte comfortably. You want the nappy comfortable yet secure with no gaps or gapes. The nappy should  be comfortable around the tummy so it doesn't dig in when your baby bends, stretches or sits. You can do the poppers up before putting the nappy on the bum however, I prefer to do it last as that way I can adjust if she grows and personally find it easier for fitting the nappy. I then just check that the nappy is right into the knicker line and tuck anything that's popping out in. 
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You will see that overall I was impressed with Tots Bots, however I do feel they need to make some improvements. If the bamboo cotton blend could be replaced with a much softer fabric it would be much more comfortable for little bums. When the nappy arrives its wonderfully soft but after washing it goes really rough which is a shame really. Also for me the velcro didn't work so well and I would like to see different options of fastenings when ordering, however I know of many mums who prefer the velcro fastening, so its just down to personal preference really. My favorite thing about Tots Bots is their beautiful nursery rhyme prints. These are fabulous designs and a must have for anyone's collections. 

For more information about Tots Bots and to look at the other designs they offer, please visit http://www.totsbots.com/.

Have you tried Tots Bots? What did you think? 
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Twinkle Twinkle Here You Are - Home
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<![CDATA[Raising money for Little Princess Trust]]>Fri, 29 May 2015 12:23:15 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/raising-money-for-little-princess-trust
The Giggles Family
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The Giggles Family
I last had my hair cut when I was 34 weeks pregnant. Which was over 16 months ago and that was only a trim, to shape my hair into the usual style, shoulder length and layered. Since then my hair has grown out of control, pulling when it was tide up, making me feel irritated and of course giving Charlotte something to pull at :0.

So I decided I had  to do something about it, how did I have the right to do all this complaining when there are so many children out there who are suffering hair loss and are wishing for hair like mine.

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I heard about Little Princess Trust through my hairdressers, Adrian Wilde, facebook page. I saw pictures of a woman having her hair cut to donate to charity. I began to wondered why a charity would need a persons hair and then I read about the amazing work Little Princess Trust do.

I read about how they provide real hair wigs, free of charge, to children, both boys and girls across the UK and Ireland who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment or other illnesses. Whilst reading this, all I kept thinking was I HAVE TO DO THIS. I have watched my friends and family suffer with cancer and loose their hair because of treatment. The thought of being able to bring a smile to their face with such a small gesture of donating my hair, I had to do that for someone else, especially a child. Being a mum, I can't
even begin to imagine what its like to watch your child face cancer and watch them not being able to understand why they are loosing their hair. Thankfully Little Princess Trust supports families and the work they do can help a child get some of their confidence and strength back to fight this horrendous battle.
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So with all of that considered, I decided to book my hair appointment for 27th May 2015 and I would be having my hair cut to donate to Little Princess Trust. My hubby helped me set up ajustgiving page, #HairTodayGoneTomorrow and I was all set. I knew the second I started to raise money it would force me to see it through. The hardest part for me wasn't having short hair, it was the thought of leaving Charlotte.
Since having Charlotte, I have struggled with Post-Natal Depression and separation anxiety. From her being born, she hasn't left my side and the thought of leaving her behind has always been more than I could cope with but Little Princess Trust gave me a real worth while reason to do it. I would be doing something that Charlotte could be proud of her mummy for. Something that would help a child and I would be proud of. I will talk more about my difficulty with Post-Natal Depression in another blog, at a later date, when I feel ready.

So... How does this whole wig thing actually work?

Little Princess Trust accept hair donations, meeting a required criteria which is listed on their website, please see this link for details. This is then sent to a factory in China to be manufactured. The factory chooses suitable hair which is then
blended together with at least five other hair donations to make one single wig.  These wigs are then given to the charity free of charge. As not all wigs will suit every children, Little Princess Trust also purchases wigs to ensure that the best and most appropriate one is given to the poorly boy or girl.  Each wig purchased costs £350 each on average.
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Wednesday 27th May 2015 (The Big Day)

I was so nervous leaving Charlotte with my mum but I knew she would be absolutely fine and would enjoy playing with her Nanie alot more than sat in a hair salon crying with boredom. I shed a tear leaving the car and saying bye to my beautiful girl for the first time but held my head up high as I walked into Adrian Wilde, knowing that I was doing something to make a child smile. You can read about my story and the reason I chose to donate my hair at my justgiving page, while you are donating :)
https://www.justgiving.com/Jemma-Lodge.

Here is my hair journey in pictures:

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I safely posted my donated hair yesterday to their address in Hove. We have also successfully raised an amazing £286 but its still not enough to buy a wig.

Here is my plea for funds :) please donate whatever you can via text to 70070 texting JEML89 £5 (or whatever you can afford, minimum donation required is £2) or visit my page
https://www.justgiving.com/Jemma-Lodge.
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The Giggles Family
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
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The Giggles Family



Everything Mummy

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<![CDATA[Boomerang Multi-Sensory Play Centre]]>Sat, 23 May 2015 14:18:18 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/boomerang-multi-sensory-play-centre
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You recently may have read about Boomerang being at risk of closure. They had a few weeks to turn it all around otherwise the doors of Boomerang would have closed for good.

Thankfully Trewan Sands Children's Trust, tsctrust
, came to the rescue and gave the centre the money needed to stay open.

So for those of you who don't know about Boomerang, I am going to tell you all about it in this blog and share Charlotte's and my experiences of visiting the centre and what we love about it. Specifically the wonderful Pea Pods sessions.
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Charlotte and I have been visiting Boomerang Multi-Sensory Play Centre for a while now and we absolutely love it. It's a warm welcoming place that's safe for my beautiful daughter to play.

The centre has three interactive rooms, a Cafe with seating, changing facilities and classroom where they regularly run sessions, children's tea parties and bookable birthday parties.

We are not local to the centre but after all the wonderful things we had heard about it, we decided it was definitely worth a visit. 
We were not disappointed, it is worth every penny and is surprisingly cheap and the price you pay allows you to stay at the centre all day, if you wanted. For information about opening time and prices, please follow this link.


Boomerang is a registered charity and relies solely on its visitors and donations to keep it running. Each room has all sorts of exciting attractions and  has been adapted to make it accessible for as many children as possible. It is on one level, making it easy for people with mobility difficulties to get about and all rooms have a hoist to assist all in the access and enjoyment of the centre.
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We have just started to slide her down the slide and she loves it. Her little face lights up and she gets so excited. The problem is she hasn't figured out that she has to go up the steps to get to the slide and once she has come down it, she wants to climb back up it and throws a little tantrum when you try and show her the difference. (Naughty Charlotte).
Each area is on different little levels, allowing her to climb up and enjoy them. The hoist does make this accessible for all children. This area has been perfectly designed for an immobile child who can lie on the sensory bed and enjoy the light changing projections around the room and see and feel the curtain next to them. The hoist can take them from the bed throughout the room.
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According to the Boomerang website "The sensory room at Boomerang is an area to relax, it’s a calming and non-threatening environment with many features. It contains a sensory bed, large bubble tube, colour-changing ball pool, infinity panel, fibre optic curtain and projector lighting.

The projector lighting changes when noises are detected meaning that children of all abilities can interact with them.

This room is ideal for children who don’t enjoy being in the sometimes noisier soft play areas.

Fibre optic tubes come out of the floor as well as being fitted into a curtain."
The soft play room is a newly discovered room for Charlotte. When she was younger she couldn't really get much from it. She would crawl through the ball pit and the infinity hut but I think she was slightly overwhelmed by it all and would always return to the safety of her sensory room.

Now however, since being able to walk, its a new adventure for her. She has recently found the soft padded stairs which she can attempt safely. I know even if she falls down them she isn't going to hurt herself because the room is like a big padded pillow, but it doesn't stop me from walking behind her (over protective mum alert).
Charlotte loves the Sensory room, I think its her favourite room at Boomerang and she has the freedom to run wild. I love how each time we visit she seems to become more advance than the last and she is learns so much through her play.

Charlotte loves being thrown into the ball pit, where she can sink into the balls, watching the lights change colour and of course eating the balls is her favourite activity as they seem to be simply delicious.
She also loves what we call 'spaghetti lights', climbing up to the bubble tube and admiring herself in the mirror. The room also features the light box, a light up blower and a 
sensory bed with a
fibre optic curtain which Charlotte loves to explore. Its funny watching her run to the blower to set it off each time it stops, she is amazed by it.
According to the Boomerang website "The soft play area helps to develop skills including; cause and effect, colour & number recognition and gross motor skills with a selection of slides, swings, ball pool, musical instruments, trampoline, tunnels and infinity hut.

Every surface is soft padded making it safe for children of all abilities. The area has two ‘wavy’ slides side by side and a further spiral slide. The lower level features a shallow ball pool, large soft play shapes, lots of hiding places and musical instruments. A hoist allows children with limited mobility to access the soft play area.

The upper level has tactile areas, a see-through tunnel and gives children access to the three slides."
Again she loves the freedom of being able to roam the room and find all the delights it offers. Its amazing watching her smile and explore the space and know that she's learning so much (Sorry for all the terrible pictures of me).
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According to the Boomerang website "Our state-of-the-art interactive learning environment encourages the use of the senses as well as fine and gross motor skills.

Ceiling-mounted projectors create a unique affect allowing children to interact with various games on the floor. these include playing a piano, rustling leaves, kicking a football, attracting frogs, disco dancing and catching fish.

The games and interactive experiences change every few minutes to keep children interested. This also ensures there’s something that children of all abilities can enjoy."
Charlotte really enjoys the interactive room, if she's not watching the interactive play mat she's playing with the sensory walls. For some reason she is obsessed with the bells on one of the sections.
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Pea Pods is our favourite reason to visit Boomerang. Its a 40 minute session filled with fun, laughter, giggles, songs, dancing and sensory experiences.

The sessions are run on a Monday & Friday for 3 weeks. They also run taster sessions that cost £5 for a one off session. Both are worth every penny and Charlotte and I spend our week looking forward to them and the exciting things we are going to do. Prices include a play in the centre before or after for as long as you like, which I think is amazing value.
Sarah, a member of the Boomerang team, runs the sessions. She is wonderful and an asset to the centre. She is friendly, warm, welcoming and is amazing with the children. She gets to know them personally and treasures their little personalities for who and what they are. It may sound cheesy but being part of Pea Pod makes you feel part of the Boomerang family and Sarah does everything she can to make you feel part of that. Charlotte loves seeing Sarah and walks around like she's at home. Sarah adapts the sessions for each of the children and considers them when planning the activities. I cannot sing her praises enough and when you meet her you'll know what I mean.
Our favourite part of Pea Pods is getting messy and stuck in. Sarah always warns us the week before this will happen, so you have chance to prepare and bring something you don't mind them getting dirty in. I always say if Charlotte's messy, she's had a great day. That's what children do make mess and get messy and I must say she has a ball doing it. Its always fun when Charlotte is covered in paint or some sort of mess and then wants a cuddle. So be warned - any mums considering Pea Pods need to wear a comfortable outfit that they don't care about getting dirty, if you have a child like mine that is.

Charlotte has developed so much since starting Pea Pods. We don't generally have very many visitors and so Charlotte really struggles to adapt a large group of people but now you can see how comfortable she is and how she wants to get involved and play with the other children.  Its even given us ideas for things to do at home and we have been painting, playing with rice, pasta and play dough just like we do at Pea Pods.
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We usually attend our session at 11  and have an hours play afterwards which is perfect timing for dinner and then go home for a nap.
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As well as Pea Pod sessions, Boomerang regularly runs children's tea parties featuring Frozen, Peppa Pig, Princesses and Pirates. This is great fun and aswell as having a play in the centre, children get to meet the character, take pictures with them and play party games. Then after they get a lovely party food meal and drinks before they go home. The children love it, I took Charlotte to one when she was around 7 months and she was a little to young but still had a great time.

Boomerang also offers birthday parties which are bookable with exclusive use of the centre and its play rooms. For more information visit their website
http://www.boomerangcentre.co.uk/parties-events/childrens-birthday-parties/.
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Boomerang also has a lovely little cafe that offers a variety or meals and caters for children of all ages. Prices are very reasonable and its a perfect stop before or after play. Having the use of this cafe enables you to stay for the day, play, eat and play, keeping children and parents happy.

Boomerang is an amazing centre that's well worth a visit. As you can see from this blog post there is so much to enjoy and you can spend as much or as little time there as you like. Its a great day out and your children will come home happy and exhausted.

For more information about Boomerang visit www.boomerangcentre.co.uk. You can also visit them on facebook www.facebook.com/boomerangbury or follow them on Twitter @Boomerangplay
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
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Everything Mummy

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<![CDATA[Rainbow Tots & Togs Review]]>Fri, 03 Apr 2015 14:19:26 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/rainbow-tots-togs-reviewSome time ago, I came across a facebook page called Rainbow Tots & Togs. Clicking on it, I was amazed at all the beautiful products available. They specialise in handmade products for children. To quote their page "you will find fun, brightly coloured baby muslin squares, giant muslins, Tag-Tags, bibs and clothing for you little ones. Tie dyed items are original and unique, and all items can be personalised."

I just loved the options available including fabrics and personalisation possibilities. I especially fell in love with their beautifully personalised bibs and had to get one for Charlotte's first Christmas. Placing my order was really easy and I was able to pay through paypal which made it much easier. It was made up really quickly and pictures were posted to give me a sneak peak and let me know it was on its way.
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Beautiful Christmas order with a sneak peak of Charlotte's Bib at the top. These are all items ordered by other people at the time and the sneak peak was shared as a group.
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I was even sent a private message, with a a bigger picture so I could get a closer look. With Charlotte being so dainty, I asked them to put an extra popper on the bib, which was done without a problem.

I loved it so much I ordered another one, in another fabric I liked and she was even able to make it smaller to fit her better. Rainbow Tots and Togs offer outstanding service and amazing value for money. Products are completely customisable to what you want. They are perfect for that special gift, special event or just day to day. I was also really impressed with the quality.

To see more products available visit www.rainbowtotsandtogs.co.uk or to place an order visit www.rainbowtot.co.uk.

Visit them on facebook at
https://www.facebook.com/RainbowTotsTogs
Now you know what I love about Rainbow Tots & Togs, what do you like?
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<![CDATA[Baba&boo Review]]>Sun, 08 Feb 2015 02:15:43 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/bababoo-reviewApologies to my readers for the silence in recent weeks, I have had issues with my laptop preventing me from access my blog. Also had a very poorly baby and mummy. I had a bit of spare time this evening and access to a borrowed laptop, so wanted to fulfil my promise and submit this review. 

I have been using Baba&boo for some time now and love their nappies. My daughter is now rash free, comfortable, dry and doesn't leak, which is what you want from any nappy. 

Cloth was never my thing to be honest, I was using Pampers disposal nappies and was quite content until Charlotte kept breaking out in an awful rash. It was red raw and looked like she has been slapped. Any time her nappy was off she would claw at it until her bum bled. I tried every nappy cream I could, finding nothing that worked. We even went to the doctors and tried all sorts of prescribed medication but still nothing worked. That's when someone suggested we try cloth. 

At this point we thought it couldn't hurt, although I wasn't really sold on the idea of dealing with any poo. I liked disposables as I could just throw the nappy in the bin but I thought we had to give it a go and if it didn't work, we could always go back to disposables. 

So I got in touch with my local lending library, Green Bum Babies, who were brilliant. She gave me all the information I needed, she was easy to talk to and organised a kit to meet my needs. All I needed to do was fill in a questionnaire and she did the rest. I told her I was interested in trying Baba&boo as I had heard good things and she made sure some were available for me to try. 

A few weeks later, as arranged, she brought the kit around demonstrated how everything worked and told me what I needed to do. She included a variety of nappy types for me to try and left us to it, leaving her contact information if we needed anything or had any questions. From the moment we tried Baba&boo we were in love. The nappies fitted Charlotte beautifully and were so easy to use. All you had to do was fill the pocket with the appropriate inserts and adjust to the babies shape. Within a matter of days Charlotte's bum was clear and it was obvious she had an allergy to disposables.

After two weeks of use, I contacted the library again and asked could we switch some of our nappies to have a larger Baba&boo stash. This wasn't a problem for the library and a few days later she brought me a huge stack of Baba&boo and took some of the nappies we didn't like. Around the same time the lovely people at Baba&boo sent me a Little Miss Rabbit nappy to start my collection and write this review. They also sent me one of their Charcoal Boosters to try. We were sold on cloth, never again to become a disposable nappy family.
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Baba+Boo Little Miss Rabbit Nappy
After two months of lending, we took the plunge and purchased our very own Baba&boo collection. We went for their larger 20 nappy bundle to make sure we had plenty of nappies and it was easier on me for washing them. I was able to choose from their wonderful colour and prints and was totally in my element :). The kit included everything we needed to get us started including:
  • A nappy bucket
  • 2 medium nappy bags
  • 2 mesh bags
  • Nappy liners
  • Choice of 20 nappies
  • 40 microfibre inserts
  • A handy guide to cloth nappies
After a few days the kit was delivered, Baba&boos communication was brilliant. I received an email to confirm my order and then another to let me know it was on its way. 

When the kit arrived, it was brilliantly package and included an itemised list of what I ordered. I did notice one of my nappies was missing and I of course contacted the customer service. They responded very quickly, apologised and within a few days I had my missing nappy. Couldn't ask for a better service.

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Baba+Boo Reusable Nappy Starter Kit - 20 Pack
The great thing about using the library was that it allowed me to wash my new nappies a few times and get them ready and still be able to use cloth. When we were up and running with our own nappies, I contacted the library and arranged for them to go back. This was easily arranged with no fuss and the kit was collected a few days later. 

After using the kit for a few months, I am still sold on Baba&boo. Their nappies just grow with our daughter and still work as well as the day we received them. Since using them I would recommend them to anyone and plan to use them with any future children we have. The quality of the material used to lovely and you can tell it will last. It look comfortable and works well no matter what you need to fill the pocket with making it work for any family.

I have also tried their Charcoal buster, after using it a few times I don't find any improvements to the absorbency. I feel that the microfibre supplied with the nappy works extremely well and cannot say I notice any difference when Charcoal is used.

With my daughters nappies, I personally find that a Baba&boo microfibre and another brands thick bamboo works very well and Charlotte stays very dry. 

If you would like to know more about Baba&boo visit their website at http://www.babaandboo.com or email them at hello@babaandboo.com. 

Alternatively post a comment or use my contact page and I will be happy to help x
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<![CDATA[Fisher-Price Rainforest Swing]]>Fri, 17 Oct 2014 00:17:59 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/fisher-price-rainforest-open-top-cradle-swing
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I bought this swing from Argos for my daughter before she was born after reading how good it was. It definitely didn't disappoint. I'll be honest, it is rather large and it isn't easily folded away as I was lead to believe. Don't get me wrong, the legs do fold, however it does seem laughable and slightly pointless as it doesn't make it any smaller. It does however stop me from tripping over the legs when clearing up the breakfast mess, so not the worst design.
The swing itself has lots of different features it plays music, swings and the toys on the arm rotate and the leaves move up and down. The swing has six speed settings which you can turn up and down using the dial.
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The arm also move up and down which makes it easier to lift the baby out. I discovered this after a few near misses between Charlotte's head and the monkey :) note to self lift arm before removing child.
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One great thing about the seat is you can turn it left and right, making it easy to get your baby out the seat or turn them towards something. With the frame being so large, it's not ideal to move it therefore the ability to turn the seat makes it brilliant and more functional. I can easily turn her to me for feeding and then turn her after towards the TV while I clean up. 

Another great aspect is the harness in the seat, you can remove the shoulder straps and just have the waist straps. It's really well designed and easy to change this back at any time. You can also remove the tray from the seat. This is not so easy when you have already clipped it in, but it is possible. I personally chose to remove the tray as my daughter kept kicking it and didn't like it on the seat. 

Having the safety harness has made this product more usable for us as we not only use it for soothing our baby but also to feed and entertain her. Many a time she has happily fallen to sleep whilst having a leisurely swing, working out perfect for me to get stuff done, especially in the colic days. 

I do find it extremely disappointing that it doesn't have the ability to use a plug in adaptor and solely relies on batteries. As you can imagine it eats through them and can be quite costly especially when it takes 4 D sized batteries. Having both options to use a plug in adaptor or batteries would massively improve this product. Even better if Fisher-Price could also look to include a power pack which could be charged from the adapter as an additional purchase, it would be well worth every penny. 

The other part which isn't so great is the seat itself, its designed to have a reclining option but only has two settings which really do not make that much difference. The settings are so close together, it's really hard to see any discernible difference. You can adjust this from a green button on the side of the chair, you have to press the button and pull or push the back of the chair to click it into the angle you want. I feel it would be much better if it reclined further back for when baby falls asleep or sits further up when she wants to play. More settings on the recliner would drastically improve the product.
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Negatives to one side, it is a great product. We have especially found it useful for feeding our daughter as she is a very dainty baby and seems lost in any high chair, whereas this allows her to sit comfortably and safely to enjoy her food. 

Even with the downsides, I would still say this is a must buy. As usual Fisher-Price do not disappoint with the number of features on this product. They have really thought about how you would use it by including the ability to turn the chair and the aspects of entertainment. More attached toys would be nice but you can understand why this might not be possible when you see the design. Maybe if Fisher-Price release a new model they could look to include toys which dangle over the side of the chair so baby can reach for them and pull them up but we will have to wait and see for that.
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Family Fever
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<![CDATA[Lansinoh]]>Sun, 12 Oct 2014 02:58:06 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/lansinoh
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I was very excited to receive this great parcel from the lovely people at Lansinoh with some wonderful products to test. As you will see from the picture above the parcel contained, going from left to right, top to bottom, the Lansinoh mOmma Feeding Bottle with NaturalWave Teat, The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3in1 Hot or Cold Breast Therapy, Lansinoh Nursing Pads and The Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream.
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A few days later, I also receive the Lansinoh 2in1 Electric Breast Pump.

So let's tell you about them and how I've got on using them the last few weeks:

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Lansinoh mOmma Feeding Bottle with NaturalWave Teat

This product has been designed to encourage babies to feed in the same way they do from a breast. 
Following a study that was led by Professor Woolridge, Senior Lecturer in Infant Feeding at the University of Leeds, it was found that babies have two distinct styles of feeding 'suckling' and 'sucking' to remove milk from the breast. This bottle has been designed to allow babies to use the same actions to take milk from the bottle as they do from a breast. 

So that's the technical bit what is it like to actually use :). To begin with my daughter didn't take to it if I'm honest. To be fair, she didn't take well to any bottle, we have tried so many. For quite some time she refused to feed generally, from breast or bottle. We therefore went through the range of bottles to find one that she would take. I was so desperate to find something that would get her to feed. That's when we discovered the Medela Calma and thought it was the best product ever made, as she would finally feed :). We thought there wasn't a better product out there. 

Well that was until we used the NaturalWave, as I say at the start she didn't like it and was on and off it like all the other bottles. However I persisted using it, hoping that after she got used to it, she might feed better at the breast and bottle or even better she might actually start to enjoy feeding again. 

I'm so happy I did she loves this bottle, she prefers it to everything at the moment and is taking far more milk than she did before. She will feed from this bottle and then get annoyed that she drank it all :). It seems to be soothing to feed from and I now have to keep extra milk at my side to top it up. After using this bottle for a few weeks it has actually improved her feeding from the breast and improved her latch.

I would definitely recommend it, bottles are available in 160mls and 240mls.

Lansinoh TheraPearl 3in1 Hot or Cold Breast Therapy

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This item was new to me and I was very excited to use it, as I have been suffering from vascospasm, which is basically where your nipple constricts stopping milk flow and can be quite painful. This only tends to happen to me when hand expressing or pumping using the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump. When it happens the milk stops and my nipple goes white and sore. The use of this products allows me to continue pumping. The heat takes away the pain. It's fab as you just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes. I have also used it after pumping or if my flow slows down. I have found great results from it and only wish I had this product sooner, especially in the early days when your milk hits you like a tonne of bricks :/.

Lansinoh Nursing Pads

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I love this product, I have been using them since my daughter was born but it's always nice to get extras :). I still use them today and never have any issues with milk leakage whilst using them. I find them so comfortable to wear and in fact don't even notice they are there. They are the best I have used after trying the supermarket brands and they are the only ones I buy. You can get a great deal on Amazon, 4 boxes of 60, which in total is 240 Nursing Pads for around £15 (please note prices vary) which is great value and they last a good few months, obviously the length of time they last depends on how many times a day you change them.

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream

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The only way I can describe this cream is as a miracle treatment. It's very sticky at first but dries in lovely.You just squeeze a pea size amount, massage it in between your thumb and finger and massage it into your nipple. I had so many issues with sore, red, dry, flaky and cracked nipples, it was awful. It was getting so bad that I thought I would have no choice but to give up Breastfeeding and pumping. This cream has actually saved my breastfeeding experience. I now never go anywhere without a tube. My only regret is that I didn't have this for my hospital bag and wasn't using it from day one, as it would have saved me from a lot of tears and soreness. I would recommend this cream to any new mum or anyone who is Breastfeeding. I now use this cream before and after feeding and pumping. It's especially great on the pump as I find that sometimes it can pinch my skin or irritate any pre-existing soreness, rubbing a small amount into each nipple makes it so much comfier and acts as a lubricant.

Lansinoh 2in1 Electric Breast Pump

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This is a fabulous pump. I think all the little extras are amazing. In the box you obviously get all the pump parts and connectors but you also get:

  • Two sets of Breast shield medium and large - this allows any mum to find a comfortable fit. I use the large which has been great. 
  • 4 pump connectors - 2 of these are spare.
  • A handy bag - I have found so useful. I've been storing all sorts in there like spare nursing pads, nipple cream and the instruction booklet (just in-case). The bag is great as you can carry it on your shoulder and it's very discreet, no one would even know you had a pump in there. 
  • Two NaturalWave bottles.
  • One NaturalWave slow flow teat. 
  • Two collars - these are two purple screw on tops with a hole in the middle, you can either put the two silicone ring discs inside the collars to form a lid, which you get free in our box to seal the milk or push your free NaturalWave teat through so you are ready to feed. 

Lansinoh heavily promote their pump, store, feed policy and this lovely set assists you to do this perfectly. When using the pump, I have found it completely amazing. No more 40 minute to an hour pumping. In 20 minutes, I can express 100mls which for me is unbelievable. 

It is a little noisy I must admit but I just normally combat this by putting a blanket over it at night. I love that the pump has a back-light so you can easily pump in the dark. What makes this great is the fact that the light dims after a few seconds so the light isn't going to disturb everyone. 

I love the size of the pump to, really small, compact and portable. As I have said before I love the bag too as it allows you to easily tidy it all away. Another great feature is that you can use batteries. So no worrying about where you are going to pump, as anywhere will do :). After using this electric pump I don't see the point in using a manual, a double pump is so much quicker and makes life a lot easier. I know they do cost alot more but trust me when I say this one is worth every penny.

The pump itself has a stimulating phase and three different pumping phases. This allows you to find what works for you. You can also increase and decrease intensity at any time using the plus or minus symbols. You can also switch between phases at any time. The pump starts on a stimulating phase which lasts for two minutes and then automatically switches to the second pumping phase, you can change sooner by pressing the button. When the pump is at the pumping phase you can press the pumping button to change the pumping phase to your preference. It sounds very complicated but its so easy to do and makes alot more sense when using it. When I express, I like to switch regularly between phases, I will let the pump automatically change from stimulating to pumping and every few minutes I'll change it back to stimulating as I find that this works best for me. This is a must buy and I feel very lucky to have it. 

The only downside I have found is not having enough storage bottles. The way I combat this is pouring my expressed milk into alternate container/bottles for refrigeration so that I can clean the bottles for the next expressing session. I do think that Lansinoh need to look into producing milk storing pack, which could maybe include two or four bottles in a cool bag, containing 2/4 bottles, 2/4 collars, 2/4 ring discs and 2/4 bottle caps. That way mums can pump and store for as many feeds as needed. Personally I have found it comfier to pump into the 160ml bottles. These bottles are only currently purchasable with slow flow. If this milk storage pack was available, it would allow mums to buy the pack and then purchase the appropriate teats they needed separately. This idea has been sent to Lansinoh, so watch this space.

Have you tried any of Lansinoh's products? What do you think? Which is your favourite?
Family Fever
Binky Linky
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<![CDATA[What is Rhesus Incompatibility?]]>Sat, 13 Sep 2014 02:47:19 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/what-is-rhesus-incompatibilityPicture
What that poor little baby will go through, even though I know it's all worth it in the end. Or will we just experience loss and devastation before they are even brought into the world and will we loose a part of each other we can never get back. Will I recover from such a loss. I'm already struggling with the losses I didn't know about.

So for me October can't come quick enough so I can find out what our future holds. I know whatever happens, my dreams came true with Charlotte and she will be cherished no matter what. I look at her everyday and know how lucky I am.

What is Rhesus Incompatibility? So if you've read letter to Charlotte you know the basics of what has happened to us in the beginning. To put it into a better perspective, we've been through hell and back. Obviously, it's not the worst we could of experienced. People go through alot worse than us and some people don't even get there baby, I really feel for these parents as how they get through it all I will never know. I know and understand that things could of been much worse and under those circumstances, we have been so lucky and we should be grateful but I can't help being angry. Being angry at the time I feel has been robbed from me. 

Normally people have their first babies with no problems and get to take them home a day or two after they are born. Enjoying their newborns in the comfort of their own home. 

I am tortured by the image of my baby's cord falling off in the hospital, marking the first event in her little life and that we should be able to cherish but instead, 6 months on, I still cry at the thought of it. Some people will probably think these feelings are pathetic but to me, I've lost a lot which I won't and can't get back. 

So what's rhesus? Well everyone is either positive or negative. You're tested for it in pregnancy and if you're positive then this probably won't make much sense to you as you probably won't of heard of it :) but if your negative, which is what I am, it can cause problems. Now to be honest we are the rarer end of the scale, as normally first babies don't cause this kind of problem. It normally affects subsequent babies, who are rhesus positive and to combat it you are given an Anti-D injection at 28 weeks pregnant and after giving birth to prevent any reaction. The problem is caused when the mothers blood mixes with the babies to cause a production of antibodies. This is why the injection is given to prevent this.

In my case, we have been told that it is very likely that I have miscarried a baby or babies, which I didn't know about and they have caused a stimulus in my body to produce antibodies to fight against my growing baby. These antibodies see the baby as a threat to my body. This is basically what has caused Charlotte all of her problems, as my body was protecting me against her, attacking her blood cells and trying to kill her off. 

Thankfully my little fighter, fought her way through as otherwise she wouldn't be with us today. This is what caused her jaundice and then eventually her anaemia. She still has these antibodies in her blood today, however as she is older now her body is able to manage it by itself and the antibodies will eventually die off, so won't cause her any problems in the future, thank goodness, it will just take time but thankfully the doctors are no longer concerned. 

I think the difficultly for me has come with all of this being so unexpected, being in and out of hospital for blood test and the constant fear that she would have to go back in for what seemed like she would need multiple blood transfusions and god knows what else. It's been the crying that she won't feed or the health care professionals looking at me like it's my fault. Saying "Are you sure your feeding her correctly?" Or "You are only feeding her on one side aren't you?" Making you feel like your the reason for you baby being so poorly. Then these same idiots having to prick her heal more than once because they didn't do it right the first time. Seeing her blood being taken that many times that you could do it yourself better is so infuriating. It's also watching your baby cry while she has her blood taking and her looking at you to make it stop.

In the early days blood tests were every few hours, then daily, weekly, two weekly and then finally monthly before they were stopped. 

When Charlotte first came out of hospital, she had 24 hours at home. The midwife came to visit us and took her blood to make sure her bilirubin levels had stayed low. As you know that night we return to hospital for a further 2 days, the worst part is we were rushed in because it appeared her levels were dangerously high. Don't get me wrong but they were very high but it wasn't as high as the community test had made out. Scary to think that as the blood was taken to the hospital it altered the results, making them a lot higher. This happened twice before I refused for the community nurses to do it again. The second time it happened we were allowed to stay home and return to hospital the next day for another test. Creating an additional test which she wouldn't of needed. 

As I wouldn't let the community nurses carry out the tests anymore, we were asked to attend children's outpatients at the hospital. This was a completely nightmare as all of the nurses seemed incompetent at their jobs, from pricking her big toe at 4 weeks old, to taking 40 minutes to take two tiny viles. My poor baby was tortured into hysterical fits of crying by these barbaric people. I couldn't take anymore and refused to take her back. I eventually made a complaint which to this date is still being investigated.
For the final few tests, we were allowed to go to Koala Unit where thankfully we experienced people who could do it properly. 

Witnessing all of this as a new mummy would tip anyone over the edge. I've found it extremely hard to hold myself together through it all. 

Thankfully Charlotte is at the better end of it now and doesn't require anymore tests. They are still keeping an eye on her but through symptoms rather than blood and for her reflux aswell.

Last month, I was eventually followed up myself by a haematologist to look into what has caused all of this and what kind of problems we are going to expect in the future, for more babies.

I have previously been told that if I have another rhesus positive baby, we can expect this all over again, however I will be classed as higher risk and it could be a lot worse. If my body doesn't reject the baby completely through a miscarriage, we are looking at blood transfusions for the baby in pregnancy and possible prolonged stays in hospital and all this dabbling could risk me loosing our little one anyway. Apparently we should expect to see a consultant throughout the pregnancy on a regular basis. Scary thought really as I still cannot be parted for Charlotte now, she hasn't left my side for more than a walk to the shop with Daddy and even then I go to pieces. How will my poor little one cope without me and me without her. 

So anyway back to my actual appointment, it's all very complicated as at the moment and they are at the guessing stage, guessing what may happen. They have took mine and Ricky's blood and we have to return in October for the results. This is where we will find out how this will really affect us and how likely it will affect all or some of our future Children. I'm so nervous about it. I would love more children since I've had Charlotte. 

It's crazy because when I was pregnant, after having SPD I was adamant that I wasn't having anymore. In fact I was becoming a nun and crossing my legs haha but then she was born. This perfectly gorgeous tiny little being and the overwhelming joy and love that came with her. She has made me crave to experience it again. I crave to give my perfect girl a sibling or two to play with :). To feel them and watch them grow inside me. To bring them into a world where they will be loved beyond any imaginable level but is it fair is the question. What that poor little baby will go through, even though I know it's all worth it in the end. Or will we just experience loss and devastation before they are even brought into the world and will we loose a part of each other we can never get back. Will I recover from such a loss. I'm already struggling with the losses I didn't know about.

It's crazy because when I was pregnant, after having SPD I was adamant that I wasn't having anymore. In fact I was becoming a nun and crossing my legs haha but then she was born. This perfectly gorgeous tiny little being and the overwhelming joy and love that came with her. She has made me crave to experience it again. I crave to give my perfect girl a sibling or two to play with :). To feel them and watch them grow inside me. To bring them into a world where they will be loved beyond any imaginable level but is it fair is the question.
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<![CDATA[Letter to Charlotte]]>Wed, 10 Sep 2014 01:33:29 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/letter-to-charlotte
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Before you were even conceived Mummy loved you. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew you would be a girl. Daddy and I decided you would be called Charlotte very early on and we were so excited. You are our world. From the moment you were born, I was filled with love for you.

When Daddy and Nanna left us to go home. I would just lie and stare at you. I adjusted my bed so it was in line with your cot so I could see you. I couldn't believe how perfect you were.

That night a doctor came and told me there was an issue with your blood and they had to take another sample to check it. At the time, I didn't understand what this meant but the next day I soon did.

You were very jaundice due to a problem with your blood. Blood of mine had mixed with yours when you was inside me which meant my blood was trying to protect me from you, thinking you were an illness of some kind. This wasn't very good for your little body and the hospital had to do something to make you better. They put you under a little light which meant Mummy and Daddy could only hold you when you were being fed. This killed Mummy as it was so hard for me not to hold you.
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You wore an eye patch to protect your eyes from the light which you hated and it made you cry. You craved contact from Mummy or Daddy. Daddy would hold your hand which helped to sooth you. Problem was you wouldn't let go and Daddy would have to sit there for a long time, he never used to mind though, as it was as much for him, as it was for you.
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Your jaundice made you very tired, which meant that you wouldn't wake to feed. Mummy would have to wake you and even then you were to tired to suck. This wasn't good as food was the only thing which could make you better. Mummy used to get so upset as she didn't know what to do to make you eat. She would change your nappy, wash your face, poke you, blow on you, anything which might help you wake up. Problem was you liked your face being washed and it sent you to sleep and everything else you would just sleep through.
Luckily Nanna was on hand to help and brought you a little cup, which meant Mummy could pour milk into it for you to feed from. This saved you but it was hard work as after a little amount of milk you were full so Mummy would have to force you to eat more. We both hated this and Mummy used to cry. It also made mummy sad that she couldn't always feed you with your milk as with you not feeding there wasn't enough so mummy would have to give you formula.
Although I would make the most of having you out your crib and hold you for as long as I possibly could. 
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I think you felt the same because you would cry when I put you back and then Mummy would cry. Mummy had to set a strict schedule feeding you every 3 hours and giving you at least 60mls for milk. It used to scare me because you would sometimes be sick because your little tummy couldn't take any more.

Finally the hard work paid off and your levels came down which meant you could come off the light. This meant that Mummy was able to dress you again and finally have her cuddle.
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That night we Face-Timed Daddy so he could see. This made him very happy and we both cried with joy.
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Daddy couldn't wait to hold you the next day and get his cuddle too.
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After a few more days in hospital they said that you could come home. Mummy was so happy she could hardly believe it and couldn't stop crying.
We had pictures taken as Mummy never wanted to forget this day and we bundled you up in your car seat to take you home.
You settled in quickly and it was like you knew it was where you should be.
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The next day we got some very sad news that you needed to go back to hospital because your levels were high again and you needed to go back under the light. When we arrived mummy got very sad because your cord fell off marking a time that mummy felt had been taken away from her. A week of your life had passed and we didn't get the opportunity to enjoy you. This time we had to go to the children's ward and they placed you in an incubator to keep you warm. You had something called a biliblanket which was underneath you and an overhead light.
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This made mummy very sad because she couldn't dress you in your pretty things and could only hold you to feed, which again you struggled to do being so sleepy.
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After two more days, on mummy's birthday at 8pm, to be exact, the doctors said you could come home again. Mummy was so frightened that they would change their mind or you would have to come back but thankfully you only came back for more blood tests. These tests continued until you were 5 months old, as you became very anaemic causing you to be very sleepy again. The doctors were worried you would need a blood transfusion but thankfully with mummy's hard work of continuing to try and feed you herself and give you your medicines, you didn't need it. The Doctors are so shocked and our little miracle beat all the odds. We are so proud of you and everything you have come through. You were meant to be sent to us. As mummy tells you she wished upon a star and twinkle twinkle here you are. My perfect little star and mummy's dreams rolled into one.
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Binky Linky
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<![CDATA[The Labour...]]>Tue, 05 Aug 2014 08:22:46 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/the-labour So as I was staying in, we had to walk up to anti-natal which was horrible stopping every two minutes to scream a contraction out, you would think we had far to travel with the amount of time it took to get there. They did offer me a wheelchair but said it was better to walk, as it could bring Charlotte down. As she was still very high up, I was willing to do anything to get this pain to stop. 

So when I got there, I stood against the bed waiting for this so called pain relief. I had been given Co-dydramol and Paracetamol but it didn't do anything, so the next step would be Diamorphine, I hoped.

After being in the room a while and still no one coming to my screaming aid, my mum went and asked for some pain relief for me, while Ricky held my hand, in horror. A snotty nurse said she would be in soon. God I would never want to work her soon, as over half an hour later she appeared with Gas & Air and a birthing ball and said I don't know what you've been told but this is the only thing we can give you (liar!!!). At this point, I would take what I could get. She said they wouldn't examine me again for at least 4 hours unless they felt I needed to be checked sooner. Considering I have been examined on MAU at about 11am, I shouldn't have needed to be checked again until at least 3pm.

The plan was to have every drug going to get me through this. The Gas & Air didn't help with the pain one bit, but it helped me cope better and breathe through each contraction. I just sat on the birthing ball with my hands against the bed and held onto the Gas & Air with my teeth like it was my lifeline. In between the contractions, I would just put my head on the bed and cry. When I couldn't cry anymore, I would just drift to sleep with exhaustion until another contraction came 2 minutes later. 

At about 1pm, I was climbing the walls screaming for something else to relieve the pain. After about an hour, they decided to examine me and found that I was 3cm, Charlotte had come right down, waters were bulging and Charlotte was back to back which was causing the pressure. As I was in so much agony they agreed to give me Diamorphine, thank god. Although they took their sweet time bringing it in. 

Combining this with Gas & Air it gave me 90 minutes of relief. Don't get me wrong, I still had contractions every two minutes and was in agony but it was bearable. I was able to drift into little sleeps in between the contractions. After having the Diamorphine, I took to the bed, which is a good job because I couldn't stand anyway. It's funny because I was so conscious about being undressed and people examining me but after the Diamorphine, I didn't even care if my pants were on. The pain just puts you that way. 

After 90 minutes, it all came back with a vengeance, I couldn't bare it. I was screaming and none of it was working. Clearly the Diamorphine had worn off. I couldn't stay still; I was throwing myself in an attempt to find a way to deal with the pain. Poor Ricky at my side got bit, punched and kicked, none of which I remember, oops. I am told I kept knocking the Gas & Air tubing off and turned into a raving banshee. Luckily my amazing husband was there to hold my hand, rub my back and keep putting the tubing back together. When he couldn't do it anymore my mum was there to take over. I didn't expect to feel the contractions in my back like I did. 

The next moment my water finally broke and Ricky ran to the midwife and told them. Hearing my screams the midwives finally decided to come in and examine me again. Now seeing I was 4-5cm I could finally move to delivery suite and get my epidural, as I was now in active labour. They tried to take the gas & air off me to get me in a wheelchair and get me to delivery suite. While trying to manoeuvre me I couldn't let it go. Finally tearing it out my hands we were on the move. My mum decided to go and get the bags out of the car as we finally knew what was happening and that we would have our baby today. 

We planned for it to be just Ricky and I but as my mum was our transport and we didn't know what was happening earlier she stayed. This was more down to the fact that no one expected me to progress and thought the contractions would just stop. I was still in the clothes I arrived in, whereas if I knew what was happening, I would have worn a nighty which would have been much comfier and easier. The way this labour had gone, nothing could have been planned.  

As we got into the lift, I could feel my body pushing her out. I screamed that I was pushing but no one believed me.  I kept being told no she's not don't worry. 

As we approached the doors, I was screaming to let them know she was on her way. One of the midwives must of realised and said don't push here but this was something I couldn't control. 

As I got into the room I was screaming for that epidural, I had to have it. The midwife said don't worry we can sort it for you; you just need to get on the bed so we can check you and the baby. I couldn't move out of the chair, feeling that overwhelming pushing sensation and a real need for me to allow it to take over. With Ricky's help, I threw myself out of the chair and managed to get a leg on the bed. Feeling the urge again, I flipped myself over so I was on my back shouting at the midwife once more for the pain relief. The midwife said don't worry we just need to get you sorted and we can give you the epidural. I screamed you can't because she's coming. The midwife finally looked down and realised she was well on her way and there was no time. Asking me to push and breathe through. Just at that moment my mum returned with the bags and was just in time. At which point I was screaming at the midwife say I bloody knew it would be to late, I knew it. Of course I was told off about talking and start pushing. I have no recollections of this due to being delirious with pain. 

When I finally concentrated on my pushing she was out. My little girl Charlotte Elizabeth was welcomed into the world weighing 7lbs 6oz at 16:59 on Wednesday 26th February 2014. She was perfect.
There was a bit of panic as she didn't breathe straight away, due to being in shock at being born so quickly. The midwife didn't even offer my husband to cut the cord as the priority was to get her breathing. 

The cord was cuts and she was whisked onto the incubator next to me, rubbing her to get her to take her first breath. It felt like forever, still being disorientated from the sheer pain, I could see it all happening but couldn't fully comprehend it. Finally breathing she was given vitamin K and was returned to me. She was placed under my top on my chest so we could have skin to skin contact. I still feel horrible about this moment now as I was in so much pain, I couldn't enjoy her being there. 

I was shocked at the contractions starting again for my body to get rid of the afterbirth. After it was over there was a horrible burning sensation and a lot of pain still, obviously nothing like the labour but a lot of discomfort. The midwife told me I had 2nd degree tears and a doctor was on her way, as I had a labial laceration and the tears were extremely close to my urethra, I know probably too much detail :/ but god that stinging. 

The doctor came in and suggested I keep the Gas & Air in my mouth as it would allow me to cope with the pain but wouldn't help with the pain at all. Feeling every stitch going in was horrific and in my mind, I was pleading for it to be over. I had to be catheterised due to the tearing I had as they were concerned that I wouldn't be able to go to the toilet. The most shocking part was the Volterol which was so kindly shoved up my bum. It would have been nice to know about that beforehand :/ and at least be prepared for it :0 .

After everything was settled, I offered Daddy a cuddle; he just seemed to gaze at her in sheer amazement. I loved this moment as I finally got to see my beautiful girls face for the first time. At that moment my heart hurt, I loved her that much. While Daddy held her, I went for what must be the most amazing shower in the world. Modesty out the window the midwife helped me get clean and back into bed with a clean nighty. I was like a different person and ready to have my daughter back and finally appreciate her beauty. I couldn’t stop looking at her, she was amazing and perfect. 

As I was rhesus negative Charlotte's cord blood was taken straight after birth to be tested, a doctor came and advised us that her blood had been contaminated and they needed another sample. My poor baby only being a few hours old had to have her heal pricked to take a new sample.

At 10:30pm we moved to the post-natal ward. As it was so late Ricky and mum had to leave. I could see the pain in Ricky's face having to leave us and I didn't feel much better. Being this uncomfortable the help would have been nice. Its such a strange set-up when you need your partner they expect them to leave.

At about 12am a doctor appeared and said there was a problem with Charlotte's blood and they would need to do more tests. Disorientated and shocked it took me a few minutes to absorb what had been said but by that point he just disappeared. There was no have you got any questions or do you need me to explain anything or even an actual explanation. This is where all our troubles began...

How was your labour? Did you have any similar experiences?
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<![CDATA[Medela Review]]>Sun, 27 Jul 2014 00:00:56 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/medela-products-review
So in this blog, I am going to give a review on the Medela products I have used. I have found Medela to be a great company from their customer service with fast response time and lovely advisor's to the Breastfeeding advice they offer, having an on hand liaison. I was lucky enough to receive samples of their products which I have found great to use. 

So here they are:

Medela Harmony BreastPump

The Medela Harmony BreastPump is a handy little pump, great for it portability. It's design allows you to stimulate before you go into expressing. It's lightweight and reasonably small so you can take it out with you. It comes with the Calma Bottle which is amazing but I will tell you more about this product later on. I also like the way that it comes with a handy little stand which helps ensure the bottle doesn't fall over, which as any mum who is expressing milk knows, it's so upsetting when you loose milk, especially if you are struggling with your supply. 

Now for me the functionality of the pump was slightly flawed. I really struggled to get much  milk off, after 30mins of usage, I got 20mls which was a lot of effort and very time consuming especially when I was very full. Not easy when you have a baby to look after. To be fair it maybe my technique but after reading the manual and watching a youtube clip, it still hasn't got any better and have found hand expressing much quicker.  

I personally don't think it's any good for daily use but maybe as a one off or to take a little off if your over engorged. This is obviously based on my personal use, other people may find it easier to get more milk off in a shorter time. I did contact Medela about my troubles with the product and I was referred to the Breastfeeding liaison who gave me lots of handy tips (see I told you, wonderful) but sadly none worked.

Medela Calma Bottle

The Calma bottle is amazing, I love this product and will recommend it to anyone and everyone. It's designed to replicate a breast so can only be drained when the baby is sucking which means nothing comes out when tipped. Charlotte has terrible reflux and has refused all other teats, we have tried everything but this one she seems to love. I think it's because it doesn't over power her and is entirely at her pace, depending entirely how fast she likes to take her milk. The bottle is also great for measuring milk as it has clearly identifiable markers. Since using it I have gone on to buy more and unless something just as wonderful comes out for my next baby, I intend to use these again. It is a truly fabulous product. What makes me love them even more is that a baby will happily go from bottle to breast and back again. I feel it is a must buy for any Breastfeeding mum who is also intending on using a bottle aswell.

Medela Purelan Nipple Cream

Medela Purelan Nipple Cream is great, it's completely natural which means you don't have to wipe it off before you feed your baby. It doesn't contain peanut oil unlike some which obviously isn't good to introduce to a baby. It's easy to rub on and soothes any soreness really quickly. After using it, I would recommend it to others.

Medela Pump & Save Bags

Medela Pump & Save bags are great, I love the way they attach directly to the pump which makes it less likely for any milk wastage. They are a good size bag to store a decent amount of milk but not to big where they take over your freezer. They are also very easy to label so you know how long you have stored your milk for. The only downside for me is they are very long, which makes them hard to position. They also crinkle quite loudly so don't use them in the same room as a sleeping baby.

Medela Disposable Nursing Pads

Medela Disposable nursing pad are wonderful, they are extremely comfortable and very absorbent so no leakages. I have tried quite a few and the best on the market seem to be these and Lansinoh both very similar in design.
Have you used any of these products? What worked for you?
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<![CDATA[Dreams can come true...]]>Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:10:21 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/dreams-can-come-true Well in my last blog my intention was to tell you a little about me but it was more like my life story. It ended where Ricky and I had just found out we were pregnant so I thought I may aswell tell you the rest. 

After finally getting over the shock, the excitement really kicked in. I was desperate to tell everyone but we decided to wait hoping to get to the safety zone of the 12 weeks scan. 

After a couple of weeks being at work, I had terrible morning sickness throughout the day. Whoever calls it morning sickness is sick and twisted. It's definitely  false advertisement :/. After making all the excuses I could, at 8 weeks pregnant I finally decided to tell my boss that I was pregnant and then everyone else could know. I was on a temporary contract so was very nervous about the whole thing.

At 10 weeks, I met with my midwife who took my blood and did the initial assessments. I was advised as my BMI was 39 and due to my family history, I was classed as high risk which means I would see a consultant, probably have growth scans later in my pregnancy and would generally be kept a close eye on.

Later that week, I was suspended from work and they eventually sacked me, giving appalling excuses when it was obviously down to me being pregnant. Typical for me the law had just changed, meaning that I had to pay to take them to a tribunal, for which I had a good case. Obviously being out of work and with a baby on the way this wasn't possible as where would be get the money. As if being pregnant wasn't hard enough, I was now jobless and worrying about how we would manage. I decided nothing was going to pull me down, I had received the best news ever, I was expecting our little one and we had to just find a way. 

As I was in my 3rd year of my teaching course, it meant I was qualified as a higher level teaching assistant. I therefore decided as nowhere seemed to be hiring and let's face it who would take a pregnant woman on anyway, I would sign up to an agency and get as much work as I could. I waited weeks to be allowed to work as they had to do checks and get reference and when I was finally offered work it was hardly worth taking, paying minimum wage. But work was work and every penny counted, especially with us still doing up the house and preparing for our little one.

On 29th August 2013, the 12 week scan date had arrived. I couldn't wait to see our baby. For me it still didn't seem real. I couldn't wait to see the beautifully, amazing person growing inside me.

12 Week Scan - Baby due 8th March 2014

Seeing our baby was unbelievable and such a relief to see that little heart beating. 
By now the sickness started to settle down thank goodness, I wasn't being sick all day just in the morning and sometimes just felt it in the evening. No one every tells you this stuff about pregnancy :(. 

At 16 weeks, now finally feeling little flutters of our baby's movements, I met with the midwife once again. She said my blood had come back fine except for the fact that I was rhesus negative. She said this wouldn't be a problem for this baby, as it was my first but could potentially be a problem for a future pregnancy. She said they would give me an Anti-D injection at 28 weeks and after birth so it would prevent any future issues.  

I started to develop discomfort down below, feeling a lot of pressure when I was walking or standing aswell as pain in my back. I spoke to my midwife about it and she decided to refer me for physio. She said it was likely that I had SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) or PRGP (pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain). Whilst waiting for the appointment my anomaly scan was fast approaching. I was so desperate to know that everything was ok and see our little one again. Ricky and I had decided we wanted to know what we were having but I was adamant we were having a girl. I felt I already knew the answer and just needed the scan to be certain so we could start buying :), the exciting part. It seemed to take forever for the date to come round and few times I almost booked a private scan but then I read some bad reviews and we couldn't really afford to waste money on a scan we was ready getting for free, granted you get a lot more with private but let's face it our baby was worth the wait. 

On 21st October 2013, we went for the anomaly scan. I was so excited I could hardly sleep. We waited forever in that joke of a place but finally we were called. I was so nervous, I wanted my perfect little baby to be ok. It took a while for the sonographer to say anything and I was so sure something was wrong but it turned out that the baby would sit still or get into the position needed to be measured, just like Daddy, awkward :). I was asked to go and have a walk around and come back apparently stairs are good to help babies move into position. So after doing 20 laps up and down the stairs, to Ricky's delight, we returned. Thankfully everything was perfectly fine, but they could only say they were 70% sure she was a girl as the umbilical cord was between her legs. I was so relieved she was ok but so disappointed as I had to know. I had waited all this time, didn't get a private scan and I didn't know for certain if we were having a girl or not.

20 Week Scan

Either way our possible girl was perfect. After a little hormonal cry, I pulled my hormonal self together and bought a neutral outfit. Baby shopping was always good for cheering me up :). 

The next day we had to return to the hospital for our consultant appointment. We saw a lovely doctor who got all the scan images up on screen, as I was concerned they didn't get to see everything they needed to. It was amazing to see her again and the images they take. The doctor talked me through all the images and what they were of, her heart, liver etc. He then confirmed what I knew all along, I was having a girl. A perfect little princess. 

A few days later, I attended my physio appointment and it was confirmed I had SPD, by now it had got a lot worse and moving generally was quite uncomfortable. I was really struggling with the work I had as I was on my feet a lot, when I got home I just slept I was so exhausted. Although I felt much better now I was into the second trimester. I was just miserable in the first. I plodded in on with what little work I was getting now. Certain jobs I was now having to refuse due to the children I would work with being to violent. I couldn't afford for something to happen. By now we had already decided on a name. Well to be fair we knew it from the beginning but explored other names just in case. It would have been Jacob Steven, Jacob after my great grandfather and Steven after Ricky's Granddad or Charlotte Elizabeth, Elizabeth being after my Nanna. We were even calling her Charlotte now, she was already here even though she was still inside me. 

As the weeks went on, my pregnancy got more unbearable. By now, I could hardly walk. Thank goodness I had little to no work coming through, financially it was hard but physically I wouldn't be able to managed. I couldn't cope standing for more than a few minutes and being on playground duty really took it out of me. I cried as I walked upstairs, so just mostly stayed in bed. I loved my baby and felt lucky for being able to carry her, but I hated pregnancy. People say it's such a magical time. Yeah carrying and growing a child is, seeing them inside you and feeling them is a true miracle but it's also hard and sore and difficult.

By now she was kicking like crazy, never stopped but even that was tiring and painful. She kicked so much, when she had quiet days it worried me and on a few occasions we made visits to the lovely people on MAU. It would always be fine, except for once when I had a slight bleed and was given the Anti-D injection but always worth while checking. Normally she would make me out to be a right liar and start moving not long after we got there :/ cheeky baby.

I had to go for a GTT (glucose tolerance test) due to my BMI, to ensure I didn't have gestational diabetes. What an awful test that is, nill by mouth from 10pm the night before which means only sips of water, not good when you have cravings. Then your blood is taken first thing in the morning, you have a horrible drink and have to wait around the hospital in uncomfortable chairs for 4 hours before you can have it taken again, to see how you have responded to the sugar. Thankfully the results were fine but I do not envy anyone who has to go through it, especially with SPD. 

Christmas 2013

Christmas came and I was miserable. I couldn't believe I still had 10 weeks to go. How was I going to get through this and even more to the point how was this ever expanding baby going to get out of me :0. 

At the end of December I had a really bad night, I woke up with what felt like contractions, I was so worried as I was only 30 weeks. After an hour they finally died down but my original plan of a water birth was now out the window and I knew I wanted the drugs. 

I had my extra scans at 28 and 34 weeks and everything was going perfectly, except they kept telling me I was going to have this huge baby. By now I couldn't even walk, I was counting the days until she was out. I was so scared I might go over, as I couldn't cope with this discomfort much longer. I was now bed bound and cried when I crawled to the toilet. The pain of movement was so bad I just stayed in bed and cried.

Thankfully Ricky would feed and water me when he got home but during the day it was so hard, I would hobble downstairs in the morning and bring up supplies to last me the day. The weeks went by so slowly.

At 34 weeks, I started my raspberry leaf tea, the tea leaves as my Nanna was adamant they were the best. Getting this wisdom through my mum, I drank a cup every night before I went to bed hoping it would improve my stages of labour and ensure I didn't go over. I was willing to do anything to bring her here. I wanted to get her to at least 37 weeks, as I knew she would be safe then.  

38 Weeks Pregnant & Miserable

I had another consultant appointment at 38 weeks. I was ready to beg the consultant to induce me. By this point I was on crutches and walking at a snails pace. I already started with cramps the night before and that morning, so I was hoping if the answer was no, she would be on her way anyway. I asked the doctor if it was possible to be induced and she advised me that my consultant, who needs to make that decision is on holiday and I would have to come back next week. She did however give me stretch and sweep in the hope that it would start me off, ouch. 

After screaming the place down, it was eventually over and I was on my way home with confirmation that I was 1cm dilated, whoop but Charlotte was still very far back and my cervix very hard. By the time I got home, it looked like things had already started so I did anything and everything to help her on her way. I changed the bed, did washing drank 6 cups of raspberry leaf tea. It nearly killed me I was in so much pain but at least I knew there was an end in sight. 

That evening, I started with cramps again but they seemed to die down so I tried getting some sleep. the last time I checked the clock it was 2am then all of a sudden I woke up at 4am with cramps. These cramps were breathe taking and so painful. I decided as crying by itself wasn't curing the pain, I would get a bath. The bath didn't seem to do anything and they just kept getting stronger and stronger. I had these cramps before, at Christmas but they eventually just stopped. I didn't want to wake Ricky, who was up for work for nothing. So breathing through it was all I could do. 

At 7 Ricky's alarm went off and I was rocking on my front and crying into a pillow. The pains were 15 minutes apart and unbearable. Ricky said he would book the day off but I told him not too as I didn't want him to loose any of his paternity leave and this could be a false alarm. After another hour of no reprieve, Ricky called work to let them know he wouldn't be in while I got in the bath again as I mooed with each contraction, to Ricky's amusement. I was even scaring the cats.

Finally, we decided to contact MAU, as this had to be labour, it was to painful not to be. They advised me to take a bath and have something to eat and call back in another hour if it still continued. With the pains getting stronger and now closer together we decided to call them back and as advised made our way down. When we got there, I was sent to the waiting room for over an hour, scaring anyone who came in. 

Eventually I was finally seen, when they examined and only 2cm which demonstrated some progression as my cervix was much softer but she was still to high. Due to my contractions being only 5 minutes apart and in so much pain, they wouldn't let me go home and I was admitted to anti-natal for pain management, as MAU said they could give me Gas & Air and Diamorphine. 

So it was finally starting, my beautiful girl was on her way and I just wanted her out. At that moment I couldn't think of the excitement, just the pain. As my mum says they don't call it labour for nothing.
How was your pregnancy?
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<![CDATA[Where it all began]]>Sat, 19 Jul 2014 21:53:56 GMThttp://twinkletwinklehereyouare.weebly.com/home/where-it-all-began
Well this whole blogging thing is new to me but I figured I would give it a go and it would be something I could look back on.

So here it goes...

I've wanted a baby ever since I can remember. My earliest memory was when I was very young and a cousin asked what I wanted to be when I was older and the answer was always a mummy. That dream has never changed but when I was 16 I was told I probably couldn't have children, due to me having ovarian cysts. It never stopped me dreaming but it's always been my biggest fear, as what if after everything, It wasn't possible!

I'm the kind of person that has quite a negative view on life, as that way it's easier to face any disappointment. I was considered a geek at school and any friends I had somehow managed to stab me in the back. I was also bullied a lot and was never really very happy, to be honest I lived a life of misery. Now I'm not saying this for people to feel sorry for me. It's just how it was. I lived a miserable social life and was very much a loner. The only thing that saved me was my family and my dream of a future. I planned to qualify as a teacher, which everyone said I couldn't do, due to me having dyslexia, buy a house and a car and start a family. This was my plan and I had tunnel vision to do it. I believed I would never meet anybody because who could love me? So my plan for this was to do it by myself and if I couldn't, I would adopt. Nothing was going to stop me being a mummy.

So determined, I got myself through high school not getting all the grades I needed but it was enough to get me into college. In fact at college I got all A's when I was told I couldn't do it. I even got myself into my dream university by passing equivalency tests and I was well on my way. I was the happy confident person that I always dreamed of being. Nothing was going to stop me. 
At New Year I went to a friends party where I met my future husband. Talk about fate, neither of us was actually going to go that night but thankfully we did and my life changed forever.

Sadly almost a year into my course, I had to leave due to family circumstances and being so far away. I was now turned everything upside down because my plan was failing. What was I going to do now...

Over the next few months I got severely depressed, I started working a dead job which I hated. Less than minimum wage, I was miserable and poor. Thankfully the family issues were on there way up and things were getting better but everything else, except for my wonderful boyfriend was falling apart. Thankfully I met my soul mate when I met Ricky and he helped me keep it together and get my life back on track. With Ricky's and my mum and dads help I re-enrolled in college to get my official GCSEs due to my equivalency tests which got me into University not meaning anything to anywhere else. 

A year later, I was back on my way with official GCSEs under my belt and I re-enrolled in a closer university to be nearer to home. Feeling like my life was back on track and my relationship getting stronger Ricky and I moved into our home in February and in the July we got engaged. Everything was going great and a new plan was invented. I was going to pass university, get a job as a teacher, get married (although I did want to do it sooner) buy our own home as we were still renting and start a family. I finally felt I could cope again. I passed my first and second year at University and things were looking up. 

In January 2011, to celebrate the day we met, we decided to set the date for our wedding. I would be a Mrs on 14th July 2012. I started a new job and was working towards my goal. 

If planning and saving for a wedding, going to University and working wasn't stressful enough, then ending up ill with Whooping cough, having to be a witness in a family court case and having the worst school placement of my life would send anyone over the edge. I therefore decided to I suspend my studies and concentrate on my Wedding and what was important. At this stage, after having such a bad placement, I wasn't sure I could go back. That place truly broke me and I didn't know if I could face it but I was hoping some time away would help me re-evaluate. 

On Saturday 14th July 2012, I married the love of my life, my rock. It was an amazing day. Some people just think it's a piece of paper but our day was so special. It was amazing and we made memories which will last a lifetime.
Getting married changed our relationship for the better. It made us strong. Planning a wedding is enough to make or break a couple. Ours just made us fight for each other more and made us love each other more. 

When we got back from our fabulous honeymoon and decided the next step was to buy our own house. As coincidences go a perfect little house had just gone up for auction and we decided to give it a view. When we walked in, I knew it was home. That sounds daft, I know but it did. Clearly we liked being poor, buying a house after we had just paid for a wedding, so what the hell. We went down to the auction house and placed our bid. Oh my god, it was so scary, I could hardly breathe as the bids went in but Yay we won it. Our pathetic little shouts of joy made the whole room laugh. I can say now, I will never go to an auction again, it's to flipping stressful.

So here we are married and owning our own house. Little did we know how much work it was take to get ready. We moved in in September and gutted the place from the bottom up. It was hard going but well worth it. We had Christmas jumping over holes in the floor and managing without a kitchen. Microwave meals were the only option, I could never go back to them days but needs must. 

As it was coming up to our first wedding Anniversary, I was feeling under the weather and decided to go to go-to-doc. I had a water infection and was sent away with antibiotics. 

After not feeling better, I went back a few days later on 2nd July 2013, the doctor suggested we do a pregnancy test to rule it out. Adamant I wouldn't be pregnant, I was very reluctant for the doctor to do a test. Ricky and I sat there and joked about being pregnant, while the doctor was testing my sample and we laughed about him being strange to suggest it. I mean I was late but only by a few days and it wasn't the first time, id been late before and I couldn't have children anyway.

The doctor came back with a smile on his face and said would you like to know the results. Ricky and I looked at each other like no why don't you keep them to yourself :/ stupid question, of course we want to know what we already did. Well your pregnant he said. No I'm not, I blurted out. I was determined to argue with this liar. He said you are, look, showing me the test. Seeing the two pink lines I broke into tears and starred at it for a while not believing my eyes. Ricky looking like he had been hit by a train just starring in utter amazement. Then it hit me, id had sore breasts, was tired, late. It's all coming together now. Happiness is not a strong enough emotion to describe where I was. I was on cloud 9 how could I not be, the life I wanted was finally happening. I turned to Ricky and said are you happy. Still in shock he nodded his head with a smile. We walked out the hospital and he held me like a delicate flower, like I could break. I was still emotional and kept thinking did that actually happen.

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