Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Review - Fisher-Price Rainforest Open-Top Cradle Swing


 Rainforest Open-Top Cradle Swing 

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. 

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. 

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 Fisherprice 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.

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 highchair, 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 Fisherprice 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 Fisherprice 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. 

Family Fever

Friday, 10 October 2014

New Lansinoh products - Tried & Tested

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. 

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:

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

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

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

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

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 dont 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.
Binky Linky
Family Fever

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

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.

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. 

Letter to Charlotte - Rhesus incompatibity - Our joy turning to heartache

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 somekind. 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. 

 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.
 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 wasnt good as food was the only thing which could make you better. Mummy used to get so upset as she didnt 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. 

I wanted to hold you and never let go. 
 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.

 That night we Face-Timed Daddy so he could see. This made him very happy and we both cried with joy. 
Daddy couldn't wait to hold you the next day and get his cuddle too.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

Binky Linky

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

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...

Monday, 21 July 2014

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

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 sooths 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 Disposible 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. 

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 couldnt 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 and 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.