Death is a scary thought. I hadn’t really thought much about what would happen when I die, I probably should have thought about it as soon as I had Isla, but what are the odds that something would happen to me any time soon…

Over the past few weeks I have lost two special people in my life. One of the greatest friends I have ever had, and my wonderful and caring stepmum.

My best friend was only 23, she was happy and healthy. I struggled to accept that my friend had passed away, she lived almost 300 miles away. Three weeks on and I still don’t really believe it. I will be attending her funeral today (Friday 20th), her Mum has requested that everyone wear bright colours. My stepmum was 53 and had been very poorly. We will be celebrating her life on Tuesday.

My Stepmum And Isla

Me And My Good Friend

They both just as sad, I am sad to have lost them, I am sad for their families, I am sad for Isla, that she will never really know my stepmum or my best friend, she will only know them through my stories.

It just goes to show, that you never know what is around the corner! I have decided to take out life insurance and I will write a will. I need to make sure that if anything did happen to me, that Isla would be cared for correctly.

Do you have life insurance? Which company did you take out a policy with?

My Birth Story

Our estimated due date was the 21st of November 2017. My sister had planned a baby shower for me on the 26th of October, good job she didn’t plan it a week later as Isla decided to make an appearance way before she was due.

I hadn’t had braxton hicks, I hadn’t had my show, and my waters definitely hadn’t gone. One thing I did have was excruciating back pain, I hadn’t been able to sit comfortably for over a week.

I woke up at 5:00AM on the 30th of October, my back was in agony, it was a constant pain and I couldn’t get back to sleep, I took some paracetamol and got up for the day. I made a coffee and got on the sofa with a blanket. The pain stayed and four hours past, I decided to take some co-codamol. I was moving between living room and bedroom, drinking water, I couldn’t lie down, I couldn’t stand up, I would walk around for 5 minutes, the daylight wasn’t helping, I had the curtains shut, I could’ve cried, in fact, I did cry.

I called my Mum, who said to ring the hospital if the co-codamol hadn’t helped, I did just that, the midwife on the line asked me how far along I was, “36 weeks and 6 days” I replied. They asked me to go to the maternity ward to be checked over, so we rang a taxi. I took my notes, my phone and my purse. I wasn’t even full term, there was no way I would need my hospital bag…

I was shown to a room and the midwife asked if she could examine me to see if I actually was in labour. My Mum was already on her way, she was one of my birthing partners. As it turns out, I was 2cm dilated, and strangely hadn’t felt a single contraction, just a continuous pain. Since I was not 37 weeks (yes only by a day!), I had to stay in the hospital and have babies heart rate monitored for two hours, as well as the contractions. I had these funny round things on a belt strapped round my big belly, which meant I couldn’t move very much, as every time I moved, they slipped a bit and we lost the babies heart rate. I am kind of a little bit glad that I got to stay on the ward when only 2cm dilated, as it meant I got to use the gas and air!

Two hours flew by, and the midwife came back to examine me again. She told me and my birthing partners that I was now 5cm (which is the size of a Babybell, did you know??) I thought to myself, “wow this is going pretty fast, I am actually going to have a baby really soon…” And then I got all soppy and told my Mum how I have never loved anyone so much as I loved this baby, and I didn’t even know her yet, I had never seen her or held her, but she was the most important person to me in the world.

Some more hours past, we listened to Ed Sheeran and Adele on Youtube, I tried to eat a chicken and bacon sandwich. The midwife let me take the funny belts off my bump and get in the shower for 5 minutes. I drank a ton of water and went for a wee several times in a bedpan. We watched the sheet coming out of the monitor I was strapped up to, wondering what all the scribbley lines meant.

IMG_4033

I was now at 6cm, things had slowed down. But we kept our spirits high, we laughed and talked and sang songs. More hours went by, and I was still only 6 hours dilated, a doctor came in and I was asked how I felt about an oxytocin drip as we seemed to be at a standstill, I was really terrified about having the drip in my hand, it was actually the thing that scared me most about labour. The drip was put in my hand, and oxytocin slowly trickled into my bloodstream. A doctor spoke to me about stronger pain relief, I felt a little bit pressured by him actually, which is when I remembered what I had learnt in my NCT antenatal classes, about a positive birth, taking control and making it your own. My birthing plan had been to have a lovely relaxing water birth, with just gas and air. So, when this doctor started telling me to “have an epidural” I firmly but politely told him that was the last thing I wanted. I asked for him to tell me a bit more about the Diamorphine, how it worked, how long it lasted, the pros and cons. Let me tell you right now, I wish I had never had the Diamorphine.

I was told by the doctor I could be in labour for another 12 hours at this rate. Oh, how wrong he was. The Diamorphine is supposed to take about 30 minutes to enter your blood and take effect.

I couldn’t lie in that hospital bed any longer, I was up and down, sitting on the birthing ball, but nothing was helping. And then all of a sudden, I really felt as though I needed to poo. I was saying to the midwifes “I’m going to poo myself”, obviously they knew that the baby was coming… I didn’t!

IMG_4032

I got back on the bed, I think I only pushed 4 times, and there she was… At 1.25AM on the 31st of October.

A Busy Weekend in July

The weather was great, with temperatures around 25 degrees Celcius. I had arranged with Isla’s Dad to meet in Sunderland on Saturday. So, we got up nice and early and had our breakfast. I put suncream on Isla and a gorgeous little romper from The Disney Shop. It takes us about an hour to get to Sunderland, Isla was due to have a nap and I really thought she would sleep during the journey. She fell asleep minutes before we pulled into the last stop in Sunderland, luckily I had to return a top to New Look that I had bought in the sale but didn’t quite look right. I met Isla’s Dad and we went to New Look, I chose a new top. After I’d finished in New Look, Isla’s Dad called his family and asked where they would like to meet to see Isla.

 

After meeting with Isla’s Grandparents, we decided to get some lunch and go to the park. There is a lovely park just a 5 minute walk from Sunderland city centre, it has a pond with ducks and swans, a little play park for children, lots of nice places to sit. We got a Subway (Isla’s Daddy’s first time ordering a Subway – quite funny to watch) and sat on a bench in the park. Isla had sweet potato, carrots and peas for her lunch. After lunch, we sat on the grass, trying to stop Isla from eating all sorts off the floor. It was a lovely day out.

baby park

On Sunday, we had plans to go to Bents Park, which is down by the seafront in South Shields. The council put on “The South Tyneside Festival” throughout the summer, in the month of July they have bands and musicians playing on a huge stage in the park, this happens on four of the Sundays in the month. This Sunday was the first week, performing was, Jen Stevens (a local artist), Phats & Smalls (they had one song in the 90s), Aston Merrygold (from JLS), and Pixie Lott (I’m sure you’ll have heard of her).

family baby photo mum

I am not going to lie, I was a bit nervous about going with Isla. The idea of all those people coming over to “chat” with her, the loudness of the music and judging how hot it had been in past days, it was going to be a scorcher. It obviously, was not as bad as I had imagined… It never is! Yes, it was loud, and it felt like everyone wanted a turn at holding Isla, but maybe it was quite nice to have a little break, some me time, baby-free, adult time. I sipped on Rekorderlig and enjoyed the music.

baby sleeping pram pushchair

Isla was not bothered in the slightest by the loud music (as you can see in the photograph above… Ha!) She loves getting attention off people, so she also didn’t mind being passed around. I enjoyed the day, however, it did get really hot and now I’m sunburnt!

family baby photo

Memories and Keepsakes

When I was young, my Mum kept our teeth. It’s something people find extremely weird, to tell you the truth, I used to think it was a little weird that we had a pot with all of our baby teeth in. My Nana kept my Dad’s milk teeth, she must’ve had them 40 odd years, so it can’t be that uncommon or weird for a parent to keep something like teeth. My Mum also kept our cord clips, mine was kept in a music box that I got when I was christened, along with other things like a bangle, a silver spoon, a bookmark and other trinkets.

I have Isla’s cord clip, maybe I just kept it because my Mum kept mine… Is it normal to keep that little bit of plastic coated in rotting flesh?? I have our hospital bands and Isla’s eye protection from when she had treatment for jaundice.

I will keep her first haircut and her baby teeth. I took an impression of her hand with Squishy Toes Ceramics to put on her wall, my Mum paid for a pendant to be made with her fingerprint embossed into it.

And what is wrong if I keep all of this stuff? They are memories of my baby, things I will never experience again with Isla. Her handprint will never be the same again, it will continue to grow. She will only ever get one first haircut. I will cherish these memories.

Have you kept anything of your child’s?

Why I Love Second-Hand Shops

We all know that baby toys can be quite expensive, you could spend over £60 on a jumparoo… I understand that these toys have to go through certain tests to check they are safe, most of the time they also have “educational” value. I have seen hundreds of toys in shops which claim to be “sensory toys.” What is a sensory toy? Aren’t all baby toys good for sensory development? I sometimes wonder if they stick this label onto a toy so that they can hike the price up, but that’s something for another day. Today I want to tell you about how wonderful second-hand shops are.

A lot of second-hand shops are charity shops, which means buying from this shop is giving to a good cause, these items have been donated by people who no longer need or want them.

Over this past month, I have been in and out of various different second-hand/charity shops buying toys for Isla. Here is a photo of what I’ve bought so far:

baby yous second hand

I washed everyone boiling water and Detol before letting Isla play with them, not because I thought they were dirty as such, but because I knew they had been sat in the second-hand shops being touched by everyone, they may have been dropped on the floor and over time had probably accumulated all sorts of germs.

The first item I bought was a Vtech First Steps Baby Walker, Isla isn’t trying to walk yet, but at least I have it for when she does start! It is also just fun for her to hit the buttons while she’s lying on the floor. These usually cost around £25 new, I got it in the second-hand shop for £5. It might not have the phone, but it was a bargain!

vtech first steps baby walker

I also bought her an alphabet abacus, at the minute this is just for show. But one day Isla will use it to learn her letters. On one side it has the letter, on the other side, it has a word and a picture of something beginning with that letter. I got this for £2, when I look online they cost around £15 to buy new.

wooden toy alphabet abacus

Another thing I bought was a Vtech Tiny Touch Tablet, which Isla absolutely loves! It plays music, makes sounds, talks, and has flashing lights. She plays with it so much that I know the words to all the songs now. I only paid £2.50 for it from a charity shop, they are £17.99 from Argos.

I got some bells for 50p (which are 3+ so I just shake them), they make a lovely sound and Isla is amazed by them. The rainmaker for 50p also, which I have seen on The Range website for £4.99. And lastly, a spinning top, Isla likes to try and catch the pretty colours as it spins, this was £1 from a charity shop.

So basically, you can find some high-quality toys for kids in second-hand shops. They sometimes might be missing parts, but when you pay so little for them, and your child doesn’t know any different, what does it matter? You can’t always go out with an idea of “I want to by X, Y and Z”, but it’s good to have a look and see if there is anything worth getting.

My Breast Pump Broke!!

Last night, I was expressing some milk for while I was at work today. I usually express the night before work, on the morning first thing, and I was about to start expressing once while at work. While I was expressing last night, my breast pump started sounding weird and I noticed that there was a buildup of milk, that wasn’t going into the bottle, all of a sudden the milk was spurting out of the motor part of the pump. I turned it off and the all that milk spilt into the bottle… No problem, I thought. I went to bed and forgot about it all.

This morning I made myself a coffee and some porridge and sat down to express. I turned the pump on, on the lowest setting and gradually turned it up, yet the suction didn’t change. I tried everything I could think of, changing the bottle, taking the whole thing apart and putting it back together again, new valves and membranes, but nothing worked. And that’s when I remembered that it had gone all funny last night.

Medela Breast Pump

It was broken! So I have spent all day scrolling through eBay trying to find a new (second hand) one – they are just too expensive to buy new, especially at such short notice. I’ve been bidding but keep loosing. I want the same one again, as it was good (until it broke), it was small and compact, it can be plugged in or run off batteries (perfect for when I’m at work or we go away).

I really hope I can get a new one fast, as I only have a small stash of milk in the freezer.

Good Night Stories

Reading is extremely important for a child’s development. We try to read every night before bed, some nights Isla is too tired or unsettled that we aren’t able to, but most nights we read anything between 1 and 5 stories.

Our favourite book has got to be Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls. The blurb reads “…reinvents fairy tales, inspiring children with the stories of 100 heroic women from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.” And inspire it does! This book is amazing, with fabulous illustrations from over 60 female artists, it contains some amazing (and some would argue some not-so-amazing) women.

Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls

So far we have read 41 stories, including, Cleopatra, Frida Kahlo, Helen Keller and Jane Austen. I really like this book as the stories are short and enjoyable, they will teach my daughter to grow up doing something she is passionate about, she is able to learn about writers, politicians, pirates, artists, scientists and so many others.

This collections of stories were such a success that there is now a second book out, containing another 100 extraordinary women from across the globe.

Volume 2 is definitely on our shopping list!

Have you and your daughter read this amazing book of stories? Does your child have a favourite bedtime book?

*This is not a sponsored post*