Friday, 29 November 2013


Safe to say that winter has arrived, I think.

The golden colours of autumn are fading fast, and the landscape seems a little dull at times. The Christmas decorations are creeping in, the lights twinkle at night.

And it's suddenly very cold. The kind of cold that sinks right though. The kind of cold that lends itself to days under a blanket with your slippers and a brew.

That doesn't stop us. My bucket list is at the front of my mind as the countdown to being a family of four continues. So we met up with a friend and her son, who was due on the same day as E, wrapped up warm (unless you're E and you wont wear a hat) and searched for "anmuls" and dodged the rain in favour of big slides at soft play. My daughter, who is terrified of slides and doesn't eat sandwiches proved me wrong again. 

Woollies at the ready. A few snap shots from our day out. 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
Linking up with #countrykids this week

Big decisions: Part One

Hannah over at Mum's Days has been sharing a lot of birth stories lately, and I dug mine out last night to send over to her. Poignant as today E is 20 months old exactly and I hadn't read it for a good 19 months. It made for pretty emotional reading. Actually the way I feel about elements of my care now are very different to when I wrote this when E was 4 days old, having had more time to reflect.

You've probably already picked up from previous posts here that we didn't have a great time of it, and I ended up having an emergency section as E's head was physically too big to pass through the space my pelvis... And even then, things didn't work out quite as they should. In retrospect, I could have predicted this: My pelvis used to creak so loudly when she moved and she never engaged past 2/5ths. But hindsight is a beautiful thing and we weren't to know what would happen.

People are surprised that I'm happy with the decision to elect for caesarian this time. It's been the result of a lot of thinking, talking and rethinking. So this post comes in two parts. Part One is my birth story, which has had a little time healing editing...

I went into hospital at 6am at 40+4 on Wednesday 28th to be induced as a result of high and unstable blood pressure. Before the propress could get under way I had to undergo some monitoring. I’d had my second sweep the day before, and according to the monitor I was having reasonably regular but small contractions, but I was completely unaware of this. My midwife had told me the day before that things were looking favourable, so I was hopeful! Baby was fine, until all of a sudden her heart rate rocketed, combined with a big movement, and then started to plummet… to 40bmp. Panic. However, it came back after 3 minutes and after more monitoring they finally went ahead with the propress at 8:15am. I had no idea this thing would be like a tampon. How exciting. It was a nice day, so D and I were able to get about for walks and there were a couple of girls in my bay to chat to, one of whom had been in since Saturday and was being induced for the 5th time…. They couldn’t even get into her cervix so water popping wasn’t an option. Poor girl. Anyway, after a couple of hours, my back and bottom of my bump started to niggle, but the pain was constant, walked it out, bounced on a ball etc, I think around 2pm I cracked out the TENS as I was not enjoying the back pain. The day passed and I was sure the thing was slipping out but the midwifes assured me the string on it was really long and not to worry. Cool. My friend arrived to keep us company and things ticked along…. Nothing to report really.

Visiting finished at 8pm but M and D over stayed until they were chucked out about 9:30pm. I cried and cried about being left on my own. Things were more painful but still constant and monitoring had suggested that perhaps the propress was irritating things as contractions weren’t really there but odd things were showing on the monitor.
Then they moved a new girl onto the bay and gave her something to help her sleep. Fuck me, she snored like a pig. Or a hoover, or both, no rest for me. Went to the loo. Propress definitely coming out. Midwife pushes it back. BOOM, this is where the pain started getting silly. I finally fell asleep for an hour about midnight, and this is where timings start getting vague. When I woke up, the pain was hideous and was coming and going. I couldn’t lie down, I was restless and fidgety. There were tiny gushes of fluid but no one seemed interested in checking what it was. The midwife gave me codeine and paracetemol and I’m sure there was more monitoring at this point, as a different midwife came back to see me and decided the propress was irritating my cervix too much, causing strange irregularities and that it needed to come out. She offered me pethadine, but I refused for fear of feeling sick and told her I just wanted D. She took the propress out, said I was 2/3cm dilated and also that she thought baby was breech (!) and left me. I don’t know how long it was before I was screaming in pain and the stupid woman had moved my call button, I had to shout for one of the girls on the bay to ring for me. Thank god they were so understanding (and actually not asleep because of the snoring girl….) and when the midwife came back she told me I was going down to labour ward and to call D. This was about 2:30am I think. The girls helped me to pack my stuff and I was taken down at about 3am. D and M hadn’t arrived yet, and I was pacing my little room (the same room where D was born!) all on my own. The midwife had shown me how to use the gas and air but hadn't let me try while she was still in the room so I felt reluctant to have a go... Then the painkillers came back up and I was repeatedly sick and no one was there to help. The student midwife was cross that I'd been sick in the sink and not in a bowl. D arrived and they came to examine me and do an ultra sound to check baby's position. Baby was fine and head down. 2/3cm dilated. We discussed pain relief. Pool was out due to BP, no epidural as not 4cms, time for a bath, which was lush and really helped initially, but I couldn’t keep it hot enough and I started being sick again. When I went back to my room, I decided I needed to sleep and so reluctantly agreed to pethadine. I cannot remember when I last felt so wasted or out of control, I remember telling the midwife I couldn’t do it any more and to make it stop and I remember waking up in pain for my strange, irregular waves of contractions, and in between I was fast asleep but it just felt like I was having one long contraction that wouldn’t let up. The early hours of the morning passed and a doctor was coming to examine me at 7am. Shifts changed and the new midwife really didn’t seem to be taking me seriously. She turned out to be a saint. Anyway, doctor examined me and my waters had gone, who knows where, and more to the point I was 7cms! No wonder I’d been in so much pain! All the staff were looking at my monitor readings and couldn’t understand how the hell I’d done it, there was no evidence of contractions worth speaking of, no regularity…. But they decided it was epidural time and to let me carry on. I had a great anaesthetist and it really did work! The doctor was coming back at 11am to check things out. Not sure where time went (maybe I was asleep, apparently I was chatting but time seemed to pass quite fast) but 11am came, and she sent for a consultant… The news wasn’t good. I was still only around 7/8cms. Maybe 6cm? Baby’s head wasn’t tucked down, her neck was arched back. She was back to back. Baby’s head was huge. My pelvis wasn’t big enough for her head and the risk of breaking her shoulders on the way out was massive. I had the option to try carrying on, but the consultant really felt the best option was emergency C section. I burst into tears and panic kicked in, having ruled out the section malarkey after baby had turned at 34 weeks. The good news was that I didn’t have to wait long and would be next in. I was going to meet my baby! The time between the section decision and going to theatre at 1:45 ish disappeared in a haze, they came and topped up the epidural and got me ready, D went and scrubbed up and before I knew it we were off. I have never had surgery and I couldn’t believe that my first experience of it was going to be a conscious one. The team looking after me seemed very supportive. Some knew D’s mum and were chatting about her and us and our wedding photos. Very odd. After a free ½ bikini trim and checks the anaesthetic had worked we were good to go. I could see the clock ticking away, and we were placing bets on her time of birth. However, not only had she turned back to back, her head was completely and utterly stuck, and it took another 7 or 8 minutes of pulling and tugging to get her back out of my pelvis (hence why she looked like a von touse baby with pink bruises from bopping about on my cervix). All the commotion on the other side of the screen meant that people stopped focusing on me, however... Never the less, E made her way very much awake and wide eyed at 2:27pm. She was full of gunk and waiting for that first cry was torture. And as soon as she did cry, my first reaction was the check she was a girl! All I could hear was people saying how big she was, and how hairy she was. D went to see her and they started to sort me out. No sooner had I cast my eyes on her for the first time, but I started to be able to feel more than I should have of what was going on, and they desperately starting pumping anaesthetic into me, and forcing a mask onto my face. The pain was horrendous... This was a recipe for disaster and I started vomiting, only there’s not many places it can go when you’re lying down dead from the waist, so my poor daughter spent her first cuddle in recovery with her mummy covered in bright yellow vomit. I haven’t looked at my scar yet, but I’ve been told it’s really neat and tidy. While in recovery, they came to do some checks and E had a temperature. At this point they started to question infection and what on earth had happened to my waters and whether I had actually been leaking them for weeks as I suspected I might have been, but had never been checked as I was always dismissed when I called Labour Ward. They were also worried about me as during theatre I’d lost over 1500ml of blood, so we spent out first night on the High Dependency Unit receiving one to one care. I managed to walk to the bathroom that evening so my friend could wash the vomit from my hair and the midwife looking after me gave me as good a clean as she could, although I was covered in blood and it wasn’t the easiest of tasks...

We stayed in hospital until Sunday. We ended up staying for an extra night as my blood pressure shot up to 170/110 and needed treating and monitoring, but E passed all her tests. I am pleased to be rid of my cannula, my catheter and my wound drain, the removal of which was one of the most horrendous things I have ever experienced as no one would take responsibility for reading my notes and checking when it could be removed, and when someone eventually took the time to check, it had been in 36 hours longer than the doctor had advised. 

I had never envisaged that she would make her way into the world in this way, but I am pleased that she is safe and healthy, and she is more wonderful than I could ever have imagined. I am pleased to be home and am looking forward to hanging out with my brand new, perfect daughter.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Bucket List - Midterm review

You'll remember back in September I wrote a bucket list of things I wanted to do with E before this baby arrived.

Well, time is flying away quickly so I thought it was time to go back to my list and see how I was getting on.

Initial results seem promising...

Rinse our Sea Life annual pass while I can still walk and before it expires shortly after baby arrives.
I haven't done this and I really must because I know E will love it. Must. Go. Soon.
Go on a Train Journey
First real train ride was actually the tube, but she loved it, even if she did fall over a lot!
Go to Winter Wonderland this Christmas.
We went. She slept through it. It really wasn't all I had hoped it would be. Everything was expensive. Trip to Hamleys was better.
Get a new battery for my camera remote and ensure that we get a lush photo of the two of us.
Sign up for some Tumble Tots sessions.
This wasn't possible. Our local group has closed down and other groups run on days I can't do or are too far away! Maybe when I'm on maternity leave while the baby sleeps...
Join the Library
Done. We've been a few times. And had to buy a replacement book but we've found some new firm favourites! Buy face paints and go mad.
Go puddle splashing (must buy myself new wellies for this!)
Have a proper PJ/duvet day - no boys allowed.
Bake together.
Christmas cake. Tick!Master the scooter.
Something to do this weekend I think.Go to the beach. Preferably Southwold.
Build a snowman (snow pending)
Get out and enjoy as much outside time as the weather and my hips allow.
Absolutely doing this! Hips are starting to get sore but they wont stop me yet.

I don't think we're doing too badly. 14 weeks to go! 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

iTitle for Everything

On Sunday we spent the day in London celebrating D's birthday. The train price, even on a Sunday is disgusting (£89pp return for a 1 hour 20 journey!) so we drove down and parked at Stanmore and tubed it in to town. E adored her first tube journey and we all had a great day. She sat and coloured pictures of pizza in Prezzo, and having been so well behaved but on the turning point of bored,she showed off her knowledge of animals to a friend while engaging him in a few rounds of Peekaboo Barn. But the drive home was really tricky as she was too excited post Hamleys and a tube journey in the dark for a nap. She asked to watch doggies on the iPad (Hairy Maclary) but I soon became aware that she was happily navigating her way around the tablet, opening the apps she recognised as games, playing them, and then switching to something else, in the same way not so long ago I realised she had learned to switch between episodes I had downloaded for her.

I am impressed that my 20 month old can do this. I am in awe of how someone so young understands technology and how she can do it all without my help. I am thankful for the iPad and its entertainment skills in numerous situations.

Then yesterday morning I was reading an article on Parentdish about the phenomenon of the iMum; about how our smart phones stop us parenting effectively and giving our children our sole attention as we are lured into checking emails, a tweet, a Facebook message.

Guilty as charged. I have sat on my phone over lunch and E and I Facetimed daddy last night to find out how he was getting on after he went suit shopping. E knows the difference between my iPhone 5 and D's iPhone 4 and returns them if found to their rightful owner.

So are we developing iChildren too? I was talking with a colleague the other day, whose nephew attends the same nursery as E and is about 8 months older than her, about how after a trip to the park they returned home and to his utter astonishment his nephew flicked on the tele, got out a DVD, put it in the DVD player and kicked back on the sofa. Aged 2 and a half. Clever? Or a reflection on the age our children live in? When I picked E up from nursery last night they had the technology baskets out and 6 toddlers sat with phones to their ears or were pretending to take photographs with old cameras. E spends a lot of her day photographing the dollies apparently... I wonder where she learned that....? This, I understand, is evidence within the EYFS that out children have an understanding of the world around them. I'm sure that even as a child myself I would not have understood the world of 2013.

I was pondering this on the commute to work and found myself exclaiming to D "no wonder children can no longer do maths without calculators". I suspect there is truth in my outburst. Our children have so much technology at their fingertips they no longer need to go to the library to research, or use their fingers to add up, or sit and write thank you cards for their birthday presents. It's just there on their phones. My kids at school even record their homework in their phones these days, their planners sit forgotten about at the bottom of their bags. Their faces suggest physical meltdown when you confiscate their phone for the day because you caught them BBM-ing at the back of your classroom.

There is part of me that senses there is an element of inevitability here. Life uses technology to function these days and so I have no intention of taking away the iPad, the iLearning, the iConvenience of taming a fractious child in a busy restaurant. Ultimately they're going to need these skills in an ever more savvy world. And I can be sure there'll be a class set of iPads in her classroom when she starts school. But I'll be dammed if I'm going to be the parent getting calls home about the confiscated phone whose child seemingly has no ability to function without the world at her finger tips. We limit screen time here, be it TV and films or engaging in a counting game on the iPad. I hereby pledge that I am going to put my inner iMum away more often. And I will continue to strive for giving E the experiences we enjoyed as children, when iWorld didn't exist yet. Books, libraries, the abacus, Lego, farms, zoos, ruined castles, scooters, mud, grazed knees, baking and the good old fashioned pen and paper.

After all, we didn't turn out so bad. And I can still just about navigate my way around a computer.

Are you on Facebook? I'm trying to stay iSavvy and use my page a little more! 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Time flies

We've reached that time of year. Again.

Meeting up with friends and saying "have a wonderful Christmas" when we depart as we wont see them again until next year.

Work gets busy.

There is so much to do in preparation for Christmas.

There is so much to do before we have this baby. I haven't had time to take my 25 week photo. Sigh. So much for being prepared!

I was at work, unusually, on Friday, so I couldn't even post Friday's thoughts. And in an attempt to justify myself, dear reader, today cannot even be a Silent Sunday. 


Today Mr Thursday's Child turned 28, so we went to London to celebrate. E went on a proper train for the first time. HUGE EXCITEMENT.

I'll be back this week. I promise!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

So now you dance

Yesterday was a big milestone in this pregnancy. 24 weeks. "V Day". The turning point at which the medics would actively do everything they could to help my baby should something happen between now its due date. It feels good to be here. 

This week has been quite a week. We've all been riddled with sore throats, coughs, temperatures and feeling quite off colour. It's been a busy one at work. E was home poorly on Thursday. I managed to ruin an entire load of washing (including most of my limited maternity wardrobe) throwing in an old scarf that the dog had slept on only for it to turn everything a hideous shade of cooked salmon. Then on Friday (the day before V Day), about 7pm, I'm merrily blogging at the computer and go to head downstairs and before I know it I'm bouncing my way down on my bottom.  I grab the stair gate to steady myself and pull it off the wall. I have skinned my elbow. I have a blue backside... My biggest concern is baby, and of COURSE it decides it's a good time to have a nap and do nothing. Chocolate... Cold drink... No movement. So I called the hospital who asked me to go in to be checked. Needless to say, as I drove myself to hospital the worst thoughts were going through my head... I was 4 hours away from having a "viable" baby... 4 hours too far.

Now, I'm being cared for my a different hospital this time as I had such an awful experience at my local hospital when having E. I know full well that they would have dismissed me in this situation. However, lovely new hospital were amazing, and understanding, and didn't make me feel like I was wasting anyones time. 

The second I lay down for them to do some checks, the small one arose from its slumber, did a little dance and promptly got the hiccups. Small one is fine. I am fine, just sore and stuff and battered, but I'll keep. 

A huge relief.

Preparation is moving on. We have booked E into nursery for a day over Christmas with the specific intention of painting the kids' new room. Batch one of baby loans has been returned and we are sorting though, pulling out the neutral stuff and putting the pink back up in the loft. I am LOVING my new pram, be it only in single mode, and am hovering over the eBay listing as I write waiting for my old pram to sell. I bought an extravagant blanket yesterday, but my is it soft! The last two weeks have seen the arrival of no less than three babies to friends or family of friends, one pink and two blue, and I'm getting increasingly more desperate to meet this little one and find out which team it'll be joining...

Now, if next week could be a little calmer, I would be grateful.

The countdown continues. 

Friday, 15 November 2013


Last weekend.

Time with my daughter, my husband, my god daughter, my best friend and her lovely husband.

Some old friends.

A significant baby purchase and the return of some of those baby loans which has got my backside into action... If you missed this post you'll remember that I was struggling to get into that mindset.

My first proper girlie night out (even if sober) since E was born. (Look here if you want to know more, but approach with caution - FABULOUS!)

Staying up until 2am.

A glorious autumnal walk, feeding the ducks, a big chill, a roast dinner.

That's what it's all about. Making the most of everything. Spending some more time in the moment. Reflecting on how we've all grown up. Together. Individually. Call it a throwback.

Here's just some of it. Can you guess what I bought? I seized the opportunity to have two little test drivers...

23 weeks pregnant...

Post Comment Love

Review: Ozeri Double Wall 8oz Thermo Glasses

If you're anything like me, the obvious Christmas presents have been bought, or at least cited. You've got a spreadsheet, and some wrapping may even have begun. But there's always someone who has everything, or needs nothing or you're just stumped for... Well, I might just have the solution.

I've been lucky enough to review another product for Moderna, this time the Ozeri Double Wall 8oz glasses.

These aren't a "must have" product, they're definitely a luxury product, but they're really, really cool. We have flummoxed friends with the cool exterior and hot inner... 

They're essentially a glass for a hot beverage. But a glass that wont burn your fingers as it's being passed to you, and looks awesome on your table. A glass that would be best used to serve cream topped liqueur coffee in... Except liqueur coffee is off the menu at Thursday's Child HQ until March 2014. Never the less, we drink our weekend tea or coffee from them and enjoy something a bit different. 

They look more fragile than they are, and have withstood the odd accidental clink when washing up. They are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe, so I guess you could serve a sorbet in them too! Each one is hand blown, and they definitely have the luxury, artisan feel they claim to have. The glasses are dimpled, so they fit well in your hand as well as looking fabulous. And they do sit nicely inside each other, if you need to stack to save cupboard space.

For me, the only thing I slightly dislike about them is their size. They're definitely more "after dinner coffee" than "morning brew" sized, and I'm a sucker for a big mug, but if quantity of hot drink is what you're after, Ozeri make a taller version of this glass too. Marvellous.

I was excited for these glasses to arrive and they haven't disappointed. They make a fabulous conversation topic and I feel quite sure that should someone receive them as a gift this Christmas, they wouldn't be disappointed... Likewise, were you to treat yourself... 

The RRP of these glasses is £29.99 (although they are prices slightly lower on Amazon UK*), which to me seems a smidge pricey, but you get what you pay for: Presented fabulously, and a hand blown, quirky product. Those tricky Christmas list gifts are sorted.

Thanks Ozeri! 

Moderna Housewares kindly supplied the above product for free for the purpose of review, however all opinions are my own and completely uninfluenced by any other party. *Prices correct as of 15/11/2013.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Making Magic

With Halloween out of the way for another year, I am firmly set in C-word mode.

No. Not THAT C-word.


I am particularly excited this year as E seemingly enjoyed last year a lot, and a year on she'll be even more a part of it. She enjoyed the excitement, the paper, seeing family... And Christmas dinner was so tasty she sat happily in her highchair for two hours! I think we plan to go back to my home for the first time we've been together, which means obligatory Midnight Mass at the Cathedral and even better, not having to cook.

When I think back to Christmas as a child, there are specific traditions or rituals that I remember that made it even more magical, memorable and special, and I'm keen to build up these traditions for my children now.

We made a start last year, but didn't go so overboard in light of E only being 9 months old. We had new jammies, and we bought Christmas (or "seasonal" if you're not so much into reindeer) jumpers for Christmas day and we started documenting that ale and mince pies were indeed left out and consumed by Father Christmas. But I think traditions can go beyond that, and so we started a new family tradition this year: Mixing up the Christmas cake together (and sneaking the odd amaretto soaked raisin in for a snack!).

Now wrapped up ready for icing in the week before Christmas! 
After a little research amongst some mummy friends of mine, I put together my top traditions...

One friend bakes hams to give as gifts on Christmas eve and makes truffles with the children on Boxing Day. Another always receives a gift from her mum through CAFOD and is keen to continue this tradition with her own children. I was told of lots of examples of new pyjamas, slippers, jumpers... A friend whose children are aged between one and 19 still insists that no one goes downstairs without her go ahead and takes a photo of them all waiting at the top of the stairs! What a lovely way to document a family growing up - and proof that even big kids aren't ever that old! Lots of families have a favourite Christmas film that they watch together, while others have staple breakfasts that they share together every year... And a tradition that I'd never thought of being an only child was that of the youngest putting the fairy on the top of the tree. We don't have a fairy, but I'm going to get one this year, just so E gets one shot at it before her brother or sister arrives!!

My ultimate favourite came from Charlie over at Learning Lessons in Mummyography. Of course it did.I shouldn't have expected anything less! She has started a tradition that I am in love with and completely pinching! 
We decided last year we want to make christmas about giving, so every year (starting last year) we fill up a change bottle and then give it to our local hospice. We think it'll give us a good chance to talk to Euna about how lucky we are.

Christmas for me is far more about giving that receiving. I love watching the faces of those I have bought or made for... And I hate opening presents in front of people! I've always been of the spend £2 and buy the perfect gift than spend £100 and get it wrong mentality, and hope that my children will always be grateful for what they receive, irrespective of size or cost. But Charlie's tradition is a beautiful way of teaching about being selfless, humility,giving, being fortunate and helping others, and we've decided that we'll be keeping a change bottle during 2014 for Cransley Hospice, who cared for my late Mother-in-law so wonderfully in her last days.

What are your Christmas traditions? Will this be your first Christmas as a parent and what do you intend to do? I'd love to know!

And seeing as I photodumpted our "mix it up Monday" photos above, I could at least share the recipe, right? It's based on Delia's failsafe recipe, except I use amaretto (trust me - it's DIVINE!) and the following measurements of fruit:

800g dried mixed fruit

100g cranberries

100g of mixed cherries and berries.


Silent Sunday

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