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Trusting your instincts

If I ever had a piece of advice for new mums (not that you’d need any more as I’m sure everyone and  their dogs have had their two penneth by now!) it would be to always follow your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t.

This week Isla has been really off since Sunday, refusing her food and just not being herself. Then on Monday morning she started being sick and pretty much didn’t stop for two days. She couldn’t even keep water down and by Tuesday lunchtime, she was so weak and lethargic she wasn’t showing any interest in playing, reading, dancing, anything.  She just wanted to cuddle, which isn’t like her at all, she’s normally too busy, even when she’s poorly she still wants to play but this time, nothing.


We took her to the doctor who just said it was a viral bug and to keep an eye on her. But by Tuesday her temperature had gone up and I was worried sick, and when she threw up again, she brought up bile and what looked like coffee granules. I rang NHS 111, who just told us to take her back to the doctor, but I just knew that she needed more help. She was getting weaker, wasn’t interested in anything and wasn’t saying a word (we normally can’t shut her up!) – this wasn’t our daughter at all. I rang the GP back, but there were no doctors available for two hours so I took her straight to A&E instead. This photo was taken in that evening and look how poorly she looks.

The doctors there were brilliant and gave her a good check over, and it turned out her blood sugar was low and she was dehydrated, so we were taken by ambulance to another hospital 20 miles away where there was a paediatric ward. She was diagnosed with gastroenteritis and put on an IV drip with anti sickness drugs, and we stayed in over night while the fluids did their work.

The difference in her when she woke up was remarkable. She woke up and started singing to her favourite cuddly toy Piggy Wiggy as she normally does, and soon after she was demanding her drink and breakfast. Once she had scoffed down some cornflakes and toast, she was back to her old self, playing with her toys and colouring, chattering non stop!


We were discharged that afternoon and now we’re back home, slowly building her back up with plenty of water and bland food.

I’m so glad I listened to my guts, the doctors at the hospital and the ambulance crew said we’d done exactly the right thing as we know our daughter best, and if we’re worried, it’s normally for a good reason.

Morale of the story? If you’re worried in any way, if your little one isn’t themselves, or if something is amiss, definitely get them checked out. One of the lovely doctors said they’d much rather see a poorly child and be able to sort them out with Calpol or fluids than parents leave it too late and things to have deteriorated too much.

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Conceiving with PCOS

To be told that you may struggle to conceive and that you “shouldn’t leave it too long” to have a baby isn’t something any woman wants to hear.

But to be told that you “shouldn’t leave it too long” to start trying when you’ve been in a relationship for just over 6 months is just plain awkward.

I’ll take you back to October 2011, I was 24 and my boyfriend (now husband) and I had just got back from our first holiday when a routine ultrasound scan of my bladder to try and solve the mystery of why I was suffering from so many UTIs (which to this day, remains unsolved) revealed I had polycystic ovary syndrome. The symptoms had always been there (I had, on average, three periods a year that lasted weeks and were insanely heavy) but I hadn’t even thought about trying to get to the bottom of it, at the time my constant UTIs were the more pressing issue.

The consultant then said I shouldn’t leave it much more than a couple of years to try to conceive as the condition would only get worse over time.

So no pressure then…

I then had to go and discuss with my boyfriend that his new girlfriend was “reproductively challenged” to quote Sex and the City, and let’s face it, having THAT conversation so early on could very easily produce a man-shaped hole in the door.

Luckily Now-Hubs was great about it and suggested I get a second opinion, and I’m so glad I did. At this point, all I knew of PCOS was that women who had it really struggled to get pregnant, so all I could envisage were bleak years ahead of us with an endless stream of negative pregnancy tests.

But the wonderful consultant at our nearby Park Hospital not only reassured me that there were plenty of options for women with PCOS, but that the original doctor was irresponsible and out of line for telling me  to hurry up and have a baby when I might not be ready.

We discussed my options and decided to try me on fertility drug Clomid, which I had to take on days 5 to 9 of my cycle and would essentially make me ovulate, when we were ready to start trying. We decided we were ready to try in July 2014 and after the second cycle of Clomid, I took a pregnancy test on Christmas Day that year and it was positive!

My point is that PCOS doesn’t necessarily mean infertility. It might not be easy to conceive, but there are so many treatment options out there now, it’s absolutely not hopeless. If it worked for me, it can work for anyone – although my husband is convinced he’s just got super strong swimmers!!

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Ladies, we need to stop the b*tching!

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Whatever happened to solidarity and sisterhood?

I recently found myself being, I suppose you could say ‘body shamed’ and I must confess, it’s really got to me. Like most mums, my post-baby figure has been a thorn in my side for months as I’ve really struggled to get my pre-Isla figure back. I’ve hated my wobbly bits and have been wearing lots of loose-fitting clothes and pairs of Spanx to conceal my ‘mummy tummy’ and for a long time, actually felt very shitty about myself.

In a bid to give myself a kick up the backside, I bought a gorgeous size 8 dress back in March for my step-brother’s wedding, which was this weekend, with the view to shedding a few extra pounds to fit into it comfortably. After much hard work, it fit and for the first time in years, I actually felt like my old self again. I’m a member of a Facebook group of mummy bloggers and I posted the above photo into the group to celebrate my achievement with a group of like-minded ladies, feeling pretty damn good about myself for once.

Yet less than 24 hours after the wedding, I was bought crashing back down to earth by one snide comment, which simply said: “Not an 8 though is it”.

I know I shouldn’t have let it get to me, but it has. Was this person implying that I was lying about being a size 8? Was she implying I was delusional? I have no idea, but it really upset me that a complete stranger felt it necessary to say something like that to me. The responses from other members of the group were lovely and they called this woman out big time, and she’s since been removed and blocked from the group by the admin team. My post, at the time of writing this, has had 457 ‘likes’ or ‘loves’ reactions and 28 lovely, supportive comments from fellow group members, yet that one bitchy comment is the one that’s stuck. I even felt the need to prove to this cow that the dress was in fact an 8 by posting a photo of the label.

Ladies, enough! Life is hard enough without tearing each other down, especially complete strangers. Even if I had been lying/delusional and my dress wasn’t an 8, the fact that I felt confident enough to wear it, and was happy with my body for the first time in years, was surely the important thing here? Why did this person feel the need to knock me down? What had I done to deserve it?

Being cat-called by a group of lads in a souped-up Peugot while I was out running (“hey fatty bum bum!” how original…) is one thing, but this from a fellow mummy? Not cool. We need to support each other, not kick each other, especially when we’re down. I heard a great expression recently: “Just be kind. You don’t know everyone’s story, be kind to them, you don’t know what they’re going through” and it’s exactly right. This woman had no idea what I may have been through in my life, so she had no right to comment.

So come on ladies, let’s play nice!

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The Adventures of Piggy Wiggy Part 2

He’s been a very busy boy…

As I mentioned in a previous post, Piggy Wiggy is Isla’s favourite cuddly toy and even though there’s been more additions to her cuddly toy collection (including Baa Baa the sheep and Dave the elephant), Piggy has been number one pretty much since he accompanied her to hospital when she had a chest infection.

 

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Isla love looking at photos of what Piggy Wiggy gets up to, so whenever I’ve been able to, I’ve started taking photos of him in various places. He’s been into the office a few times and I’ve also photographed him playing with his friends and she loves it! So here’s more of Piggy’s adventures…

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My daughter is a cat

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Don’t worry, I’m not a crazy cat lady gone doolally!

It’s a well-known fact that cats love boxes, for whatever reason. Isla also loves boxes and her latest favourite thing to do is to plonk herself down into a cardboard box (or sometimes our washing basket!) with her favourite books and her sippy cup and settle in for a while! Anything that keeps her quiet for a while is fine by me!

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The Dreaded Pox

I haven’t been blogging for a while as it’s been so busy with one thing and another, the first of which I’m about to fill you in on…

We’d always hoped that Isla would catch chicken pox young as children cope with it better the younger they are apparently. So when the ladies at her nursery told me one Friday afternoon when I went to collect her that one of her little friends had been sent home that day with chicken pox, we fully anticipated that the time was near. She had been a bit off for about a week prior to this, being clingy when I dropped her off at nursery (normally she’s straight off playing with her friends and doesn’t give me a backward glance!) and had had a runny nose, which I’d put down to a combination of teething and a cold that Hubs and I had both had. And within two hours, it arrived.


When we were putting her to bed that night, I spotted some of the tell-tale spots on her back (see above). The next morning she was covered from head to toe, the worst was on her back and face (below).


So began a flurry of trips to the supermarket to buy calamine lotion and extra Calpol (Hubs) and phone calls to various relatives to find someone to look after Isla at home for the next five working days (me), as the ladies at nursery said she’d be contagious until all the spots had scabbed over, which usually took around six days.

Thankfully, both our bosses were very supportive and we made a plan that Hubs and I would each take two half-days off that week to look after her, while my mother-in-law would have her on the Tuesday and Wednesday and my dad the Friday, the final day of her containment.

So began the task of keeping our active, wriggly, always-going-at-100mph toddler cooped up at home. That weekend wasn’t so bad as we were able to at least let her loose in the garden as we had nice weather and we bought her a new counting toy to keep her interested for a while.

By Thursday she was getting restless, but luckily we were able to take her out for a short walk around the quieter streets in our village just in case she was still contagious, and needless to say she was getting bored being stuck at home with just mummy and/or daddy to play with!

We bathed her spots with calamine lotion morning and night and gave her calpol before bed if she was grizzly and in all, Isla coped so well with the pox. Aside from a runny nose and a slightly decreased appetite, she was fine in herself. She didn’t scratch once, she slept fine as usual and was still full of beans. Thankfully she was also very well behaved with my MIL and Dad, who hadn’t looked after a child alone since I was a baby! 

By Monday she was absolutely fine and ready to go back to nursery, like she’d never been away! I’m glad she had the chicken pox early and we all came through unscathed, so that’s one less thing to worry about for now!

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Things I’ve learned as a mum


Motherhood is a learning curve, there’s no two ways about it. I’ve learned things about life, myself and my lovely little girl I never would have thought of 18 months ago. As Isla is now 20 months old, I’m taking a trip down memory lane and looking at what I’ve learned over the past year and a half…

  • Kids do everything in their own time – no really, they do. I was so worried that Isla wasn’t developing as fast as she should be because she didn’t walk independently until she was 17 and a half months old. Then one day, she simply planted her hands on the floor, pushed herself up, stood up and simply walked over to the coffee table. On top of this, she was also an early talker and had 44 different words/phrases by the time she was 18 months old and apparently most kids that age have 15-20. So just don’t worry, they will do everything eventually. Honestly.
  • Baby wipes clean everything – mucky high-chairs, tables, floors, TVs, coffee tables, you name it. Also good for removing make up, dusting, wiping noses, removing toothpaste stains…etc etc
  • Yogurts fix everything – a quick snack for a hungry/grumpy toddler? Tick. A soothing teething remedy? Tick. An after-dinner dessert? Tick. Just because? Tick.
  • You can survive on less sleep than you think – when Isla was going through sleep regression and would only sleep in 90 minutes instalments, I still somehow managed to function, just. Whereas an early morning before Isla came along was 7am and I’d be knackered for most of the day. These days if Isla sleeps past 6.45am it’s considered a lie-in! Tired?! I didn’t know what tired was back then!
  • Don’t compare your kids – similar to the first point, it’s something I still occasionally do now, even though I shouldn’t, but I always worry that I’m not “doing it right” and that Isla is lacking in some areas. One of her little nursery friends is Romanian and her mum told me she can count to three in both Romanian and English – Isla can’t quite count in English yet! But I’m trying not too to dwell on that as I’m sure Isla is more developed in other areas that her friends aren’t.
  • An important one this….One very important lesson was to stop caring so much about what people think, and that real friends stick by you, no matter what. I was quite shocked to lose quite a few of my friends when Isla was born. They just stopped calling, texting etc and at the time, I was so wrapped up in the newborn blur that I didn’t think too much of it. “They’re probably just giving us space, maybe they don’t want to intrude?” I thought. But now nearly 2 years on, I still haven’t heard from them, which hurt my feelings I’ll admit and especially on bad days, made me feel pretty shitty. When I was younger I took things to heart much too easily and I would probably have turned myself inside out trying to change and win back these fair weather friends. But now…People don’t like you? Eff them! I know I’m slightly kooky with a strange sense of humour but my mantra is I’d rather be weird than boring. I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea but I’ve got some wonderful friends who love me for who I am and I’m not going to turn myself inside out trying to persuade people who don’t get me that I’m worth a chance.