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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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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.
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Stop scaring us with birth horror stories!


“It’s the worst pain you’ll ever feel.” “Take all the drugs, everything you can, it’s the only way you’ll cope.” “It’s horrendous. There’s no getting around it.”

I had all of these comments and many more in the weeks leading up to the birth of my daughter, and they scared me half to death. I have a low pain threshold at the best of times and thanks to everyone’s horror stories about very long and painful childbirths, I was so nervous about giving birth. I heard no positive birthing stories at all so prepared myself for the worst.

So to say I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t all that bad is something of an understatement.

I started having contractions at 3.15am on Sunday 6th September and we went into hospital at 7am where we were admitted to the assessment ward as there wasn’t any room on the labour ward, and ended up staying there until 9pm until there was a side room available for me. My contractions were painful, but not unbearable, and came every 5 minutes for most of the day and night, during which all I could have was paracetamol.

We finally went up to the labour ward at 9am the next morning and I was induced at around 10.45am, where the contractions got much more intense, and after 2 hours of pushing and an episiotomy due to her head being in the wrong position, Isla was finally born at 7.57pm.

Yes, it was long (41 hours to be precise), yes, it bloody hurt towards the end and it wasn’t the most pleasant experience of my life, but it definitely wasn’t the pain-addled, gut wrenching scream-filled horror show I’d been lead to believe and at no point did I think “I can’t do this”. I’m not saying I’d do it again every day, but I’m definitely not dreading the idea of doing it again soon.

I’m not at all diminishing how tough, gruelling, painful and traumatic labour is, especially when things go wrong and we need to prepare for a rough couple of days, also I’m sure I was lucky. But it would be nice if we shared our positive childbirth experience too. A good friend of mine is expecting her first in April and said she’d been scared to death by horror stories too, but had felt better hearing mine. 

I’d love to hear some of your positive birth stories too!

* I’m thrilled that this piece has been published on The Motherload! You can read it here…

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A nod to my child-free friends


In a previous post, I paid tribute to my wonderful mummy friends who have been so amazing since I became a mummy and who I wouldn’t be without now. Well this blog post is for those amazing, understanding, supportive, non-mummy friends, the still-footloose-and-fancyfree ones who are effortlessly cool and don’t judge me for being a boring mum. 

They say you find out who your true friends are when the going gets tough, and since having Isla, our lives have turned upside down and we’ve truly seen who our real friends are. So for those who are still here, I just want to say thank you:

  • For not rolling your eyes when I waffle on and on about Isla for the seventh time in half an hour.
  • For understanding when I have to be selective about what plans we do together, either for monetary, childcare or sheer exhaustion reasons.
  • For being flexible and making the effort to come and see us to keep our friendships alive, as you know it’s hard to just “pop over” these days, and get togethers involve much planning and revolve around Isla’s routine….
  • And also for understanding when I’m so tired I call it a night early when we do get together.
  • For not kicking my arse to kingdom come for not replying to texts/Facebook messages/Whatsapps for hours/days/weeks because my memory is just plain terrible these days
  • For offering to babysit to give Hubs and I a bit of a breather
  • For still sticking by my side even though my life has changed beyond belief since my daughter was born. You are my true friends, and I’m thankful every day to have you in my life. 
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The first time your child is “ill” ill


We’re sending your baby up to hospital.” The words I’d hoped I wouldn’t have to hear, the moment I had been dreading, happened on Wednesday.

I knew all along that babies and toddlers catch bugs and get ill, it’s just one of those things. And we’d been lucky to make it til Isla was nearly 15 months before we had to whisk her up to our local hospital lickity split, but none of this prepared me for how worried and scared I’d be when it actually happened.

Isla had had a cough and cold for a few days prior and it didn’t seem to be bothering her. I’d dropped her off at nursery on Tuesday as normal and she was perfectly fine in herself, giving the nursery staff a big cuddle when she arrived and launched herself straight into playing. But a couple of hours before I was due to pick her up, the nursery rang to say her cough was worse and she had a temperature. She slept well that night but the next day she wasn’t herself at all. She showed no interest in playing or reading and only wanted to cuddle me. I got her a doctors appointment and she was diagnosed with a chest infection and given antibiotics and an inhaler. But later her temperature went up to nearly 40degrees so we went back to the doctors, only to be told we were being referred to the paediatric ward at our local hospital that evening.

I was so scared. I’ve read far too many horror stories about children being misdiagnosed (damn you Daily Mail) and was terrified my little girl was seriously ill. Even worse, Hubs was down in London, half way back from a business trip to Belgium. Luckily our hospital was wonderful and we were really well looked after. Her blood oxygen levels, temperature and heart rate were monitored and weren’t quite satisfactory enough for us to go home after a few hours so she was monitored through the night too. None of us got any sleep on the noisy children’s ward, but luckily Isla improved massively through the night and by morning, was back to her usual cheeky self with all her vitals back to normal. We were back home by lunchtime with instructions to keep up the inhaler for 3 days.

Seeing Isla so unlike herself and lethargic has been horrible and while I’m not daft enough to think she’ll never get poorly again, I hope we’ll never have to see the inside of the children’s ward again.