A Mummys View

Telling it like it is

A Simple £10 Test Could Save the Life of a Newborn

So following a tweet I saw from @Netmums regarding the £10 test that could prevent a newborn’s death I felt compelled to write something about this in order to help raise the profile of Group B Streptococcus, which is the biggest killer of newborn babies in Britain.

Shockingly around a third of women carry the bacteria that causes Group B Streptococcus. It is believed to be contracted through eating beef or fish, though skin-to-skin transmission is more likely. Women carrying Group B often don’t have any symptoms so never know they are carrying it. It is largely harmless to adults, but because baby’s have immature immune systems, the bug’s effect on them can be devastating. It is said one in 300 exposed to it will develop the infection and every year 30 newborns will die as a result and another 200 can be left disabled. Spotting it early and treatment with antibiotics during labour or in the first few hours after childbirth can save lives.

Group B strep as it is known, is a well-known risk for newborn babies and most healthcare professionals are aware of it, so antibiotics are often given as a precaution when, for example, a mother’s waters break more than 18 hours before delivery or if she develops a fever during labour. However if none of the above happens a mother may never know she is carrying it until it is too late and here in the UK we are one of only a few countries who don’t routinely screen for it.

A Daily Mail article published recently and quoted by Netmums has cited that previously, the UK National Screening Committee has ruled against rolling out a national screening programme on the grounds that the test used by the NHS is unreliable and could lead to pregnant women being given antibiotics unnecessarily. The concern is that antibiotics interfere with the development of a healthy baby’s immune system, increasing the risk of asthma and other allergies. However, the committee is due to review the decision this year and campaigners hope the availability of a new, more sensitive test for the bacterium will make them change their minds.

“The current NHS test picks up around half of carriers; the new Enriched Culture Medium (ECM) test has a 90 per cent accuracy rate”, says Jane Plumb, of charity Group B Strep Support. At present, the ECM test is only available privately for £35 — it’s estimated it would cost the NHS just £10.63 per pregnant woman.

“Since introducing national screening with these more sensitive tests, the U.S., Australia, France and Spain have seen an average 80 per cent fall in the number of newborns contracting group B strep” says Jane Plumb, “What further evidence does our Government need that a national screening programme here would save babies from death and disability?”

The charity Group B Strep Support are calling for people to support its petition for the Department of Health to ensure that every woman is routinely given accurate information about group B Streptococcus (group B Strep or GBS) during her antenatal care; every low-risk woman is offered a  sensitive test for GBS, ideally at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy; and every  higher-risk woman is offered antibiotics in labour.

The cost really is minimal when you consider the potential outcomes and I fully support the campaign to offer testing for pregnant women and have signed the petition. If you want to sign the petition please click here

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A Feel Good Day

Today has been one of those days that just makes you smile. I’ve had a lovely day with my little girl, not one temper tantrum, not one cross word, just utter joy and it has been lovely!

We started the day with a trip to our arts and crafts group, where we made some fantastic pirate and princess hats, a hanging easter chick and a sun catcher for the garden. These will all feature in some of my #ArtAttackTuesday posts to come (which I hope you will join in with too).

Then we came home and played on her slide and swing in the garden as the weather was lovely. She had a lovely time and the only time we did have a little tantrum was when she had to come in for dinner but I will let her off on that one as, as soon as she saw her scrambled eggs on toast she decided the tears were no longer needed!

At her request we returned to the garden for a further play but this was cut short by the call of nature and at this point mummy made the call that a nap was probably needed too. Come to think of it there were a couple more tears at this decision but again it didn’t last long once she saw her bed and Mrs Bunny and realised she was actually quite tired!

Mummy then had an hour or two to herself where I caught up on bits and bobs and of course popped on here to do this week’s #ArtAttackTuesday post.

Once my gorgeous girl woke I was again pulled outside to play on the slide and swings and we took turns drawing pictures on her doodle pad out on the patio, before we went for a walk to the local shop on her trike.

When we got home I made us both tea while she had a play and was delighted that she ate nearly all of it!

Tea was followed by a fun bath time consisiting of lots of splashing and putting bubbles on my nose, before we headed downstairs for Waybuloo, In The Night Garden and the adorded bedtime bottle. After In The Night Garden she picked three bedtime books (normally it’s one or two max but I allowed a third as we’d had such a nice day) We read “Sharing a Shell” and her “Nursery Rhymes” and “Shapes” book and I was again delighted to find she knew exactly which shapes were which when I asked her.

Following brushing our teeth (no paddy’s too, a joy!), a lovely cuddle and a chat with Mrs Bunny to tell her what a good girl she had been we’ve now headed to bed for the evening and mummy has taken up residence on the couch, washing and ironing done, tea and washing up done and downstairs tidied, dusted and swept (the upstairs can wait another day!) Every day should be like today, I will go to bed tonight with a big smile on my face following my Feel Good Day!

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Art Attack Tuesday – Potted Plant #ArtAttackTuesday

Welcome everyone, it’s that time of the week again where me and my little girl share what wonderous creations we have made this week in our #ArtAttackTuesday feature.

Today I want to share with you the adorable gift I came home from nursery with for Mother’s Day

She apparently helped plant it all by herself and then decorated the outside (I am fairly sure there is a slight indent of another finger there and it’s not just two!!!).

What a clever girl and what a lovely gift (just need to keep it alive now!) I am not the best with plants admittedly but I will do my best with this one!.

What delights have your little ones made this week?

As always why not post your little ones creations on your blog then comment below and share a link to your page as well as tweeting me with the link and #ArtAttackTuesdays.

Look forward to seeing some budding Monet’s!

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Top 5 Reasons I know I’m a Control Freak – Kate Takes 5 Listography

So this is the actual Kate Takes 5 Top 5 Listography for this week and it’s courtesy of the lovely Fab 40 Foibles.

This week the theme is “I know I am a… when” and is ours to choose what to do with so I guess I thought to what my hubby would say and my choice is “I know I am a Control Freak when…”

1.) I write lists galore, lists upon lists upon lists upon lists!

2.) I find it hard to let others do things and even when I do I can’t help checking back to make sure it’s done right!

3.) I really should go to bed earlier, I sit up most nights organising, doing housework and typing blogs when it can realistically be left

4.) I can’t leave jobs unfinished, we have to see them through to the end! My poor hubby hated my nesting period… can you imagine!!!??? lol!

5.) I am always looking for new things to do, places to go, courses to potentially try, holiday’s you name it my mind never switches off!

OK so I can’t deny it, I’ve had to be honest with myself here. I may just be a tiny bit of a control freak!

Again, if you want to join in why not visit Kate’s site and find out more

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Top 5 Things That Make Me Happy – Kate Takes 5 Listography

So this week I thought the lovely Kate at KateTakes5 had set her listography as the top 5 things that make us happy… perfect I thought and I drafted this post but then realised I had joined an old one! Doh!!!! ha ha! Oh well lets keep it up here it’s a nice one after all. I’ll go find the right one now!

Number 1

Family, my gorgeous little girl, my husband, my mum, my dad, my sister, her hubby and neice and my inlaws.

Number 2

Sunshine! I love it when the sun is shining! It’s like life is good! Bring on the sun!

Number 3

Holiday! I love holiday’s! Sitting back, relaxing in the sunshine, with good food and good company. Bliss!

Number 4

Friends! My friends are fantastic and mean a lot to me. Everyone needs good friends around them!

Number 5

Dessert! I love dessert! I definately have a sweet tooth!

Why not head on over to Kate Takes 5’s Blog and join in with her #Listography

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Netmums Call for United Kindmums

If there’s a mantra that I live by it would be to care for others and treat others as I would wish to be treated myself. That’s why I love Netmum’s new United Kindmums campaign.

In today’s austerity Britain a lot of people are struggling, some more than others and in many different ways. Netmums is calling on mums across the UK to unite by making small changes to their lives in order to make bigger changes to others, with a view to creating a kindness culture

The United Kindmums campaign will see Netmums each month signposting a simple United Kindmums action that you can easily do to make a big change.  The actions will range from little things you can do from the comfort of your chair to bigger actions that might mean leaving your home.

How You Can Become Part of United Kindmums

Smile. Find something every day that makes you smile or even better laugh.

Little things matter. Never underestimate how much a small act of kindness will mean to another person, a friendly smile, a chat in the school playground or toddler group can make someone else’s day.

Stop judging. Be accepting of the way others parent and don’t be so harsh on yourself.

Pay it forward. Help someone who needs you whether it’s another parent, a member of your family or a complete stranger. It’ll make them feel good and you too.

Netmums suggest there are three things you can do right now to make start on your path to being a United Kindmum

Random Act of Kindness

A random act of kindness is doing something selfless for someone else. It could be as simple as talking to a lonely looking mum at the school gates or a toddler group or buying a coffee for the person in the queue behind you.

Paying it Forward

Paying it forward is all about repaying a kind act that someone has done for you. If a stranger or someone you know does something nice for you rather than ‘paying them back’ instead, pay it forward doing something nice for someone else.

Life’s Simple Pleasures

Appreciating the simple things in life makes us grateful for what we have.

My random act of kindness for today was not taking for granted the fact that my mum was cooking sunday dinner for us all on Mother’s Day, I brought dessert to the table for us all, one of life’s simple pleasures and a random act of kindness. I’ve also this week offered to help two people starting out in business using some of my knowledge that could be put to good use to help them on their way and last week I held a coffee morning in aid of CLIC Sargent to help children in need and invited a new mummy neighbour to welcome her to the street and meet others. So without feeling too smug I am feeling good that I can commit to Netmum’s campaign, although I know I won’t have a week like this every week!!!!!

I will be aiming to post any further updates here on my blog as I see fit but why not share with me any actions you have taken by commenting below??? In the meantime why not head a long to the Netmums site now and learn more about the campaign

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Happy Mother’s Day One and All

Thoughts on Mother's Day

Thoughts on Mother's Day (Photo credit: mtsofan)

I’d just like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Mothering Sunday. I hope you are all being well looked after by your family and enjoying time together.

If you do have time spare on your hands today though have you ever actually stopped to question where the term Mother’s Day comes from and the history behind it? Strangely it’s not all about flowers and chocolates!? Oh Thornton’s and Interflora will be sad!!!

It’s actually a christian festival that stems from the Roman Hilaria festival was held in honour of the mother goddess Cybele Interested? Then grab your cup of tea and read more …. Hmmmm I am sure you all have much better things to be doing though!!!???

Why not share with me how you’ve been celebrating? xxx

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Happy 1st Birthday Little F

So Today we went to our goddaughter, Little F’s 1st Birthday

There was lots of cake and balloons! It’s amazing how much fun a group of adults and children can have with one balloon!

It was lovely seeing them all play, there’s not much in difference between their ages and as I sat watching them I thought it was lovely to know that my daughter will grow up with so many of our friends little ones. It really is the next generation, a weird but amazing feeling.

Happy Birthday Little F! Hope you have had a lovely day xxx

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Book Review: Why I Love My Mummy

Happy #FictionFriday one and all!

The book I have chosen to review this week is with Mother’s Day in mind and is called Why I Love My Mummy (Illustrated by Daniel Howarth)

This is a gorgeous book with adorable quotes as to why children love their mummies, which are perfectly accompanied by mother and baby animal illustrations.

The story culminates in the quote “everyone loves their mummy – especally…” and turn the page to a picture frame where a picture of mummy can be placed.

I bought my husband the “Why I Love My Daddy” book last Father’s Day and my daughter loved it, it’s a favourite bedtime read. So he returned the compliment and bought this for me at Christmas.

The illustrations are beautiful and whilst a simple and adorable read it can help teach your little ones about the animal kingdom. I ask my little girl what noises the animal makes and she loves joining in.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone!

If you love reading and want to join in @HomeDad’s #FictionFriday why not visit his site to see what it’s all about

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Oh my god my baby’s coming early?!

I’ve had a discussion recently with some of my mummy friends about my experiences of having had a c-section versus their natural labours and, having read another blog recently (apologies faux par of mine I forgot to write the name of it down) about whether you “miss out” on the experiences you have in a natural birth and the subsequent bonding it got me to thinking back to my experience and how it all came about…

I had to have a c-section due to problems with my hips and back meaning that I may have struggled with a natural birth. It just so happens also that my daughter was breach so it kind of sealed the deal anyway if there had have been any question about it. However what I didn’t bank on was the fact that it would all happen sooner than expected!

At 37 weeks I had an appointment with my consultant who felt that the baby was measuring on the small side (she’d always measured 2cm under but had dropped to 3cm) so they decided to send me for a growth scan and booked me in for the next day. I was a little nervous as until then everything had gone smoothly and I’d had no cause for concern so I left the room that day wondering what to expect. The next day my husband and I went for the growth scan and I laid silently waiting for the sonographer to do her thing, trying not to read her face or look for any signs that she may have uncovered a problem. After what felt like an eternity she told me that my amniotic fluid levels appeared low and she was concerned about the blood supply from the placenta as this also appeared low. I was asked to go along to the day assessment unit for a CTG (listen to the baby’s heart beat). By the time we left the hospital that night we had been there for several hours and were feeling a little bewildered and not to mention hungry. However luckily the CTG results all came back fine.

I was booked in to see the consultant again the next morning first thing. He was a fun and friendly character who had instantly made me feel at ease from the first time I met him. He had a chat to us and said he didn’t think there was any immediate serious concern but since the baby was measuring on the small side and I had just hit 37 weeks he felt it better to be safe than sorry and that we should just get her out. He picked up the phone to check availability for a c-section the next week and I suddenly then heard him say “tomorrow? yes sure”. He put the phone down and said “How does tomorrow first thing sound?” I immediately laughed in a rather hysterical manner and looked at the midwife in the room, I genuinely thought he was joking but from the blank and serious expressions staring back at me I soon learned he wasn’t!

With an appointment scheduled and a shake of the hands my husband and I left the room in a state of shock, I’d been expecting to have at least another couple of weeks on maternity and hadn’t long been finished work. However it seemed my little girl was going to make an early appearance! We were sent back along to the day assessment unit for my bloods to be taken and consent forms to be signed etc. The ladies were lovely and made us feel at ease, even making us a cuppa! After an hour or so we were done and dusted and headed out to prepare ourselves for what was about to happen.

One slight problem was my in-laws had booked a holiday and were in France! We had joked with them that they were cutting it fine when they’d booked it and I had said “what if the baby comes early?” I often get these gut feelings about things. We now had to ring them and break the news that our jokes were in fact now coming true. They were devastated as they couldn’t get back in time but told us they were promptly jumping on the next available ferry. Sometimes people laugh at me with my gut feelings but I guess I sometimes have reason for them and this was obviously one of them!

After calling family to tell them what was happening we had to head through to a town a few miles away to pick up the pushchair as when it had been delivered to us initially there had been a fault on they were fixing it, en-route we had a minor bump in the car as a guy in front appeared to move at a junction and with it being all clear we followed but he must have stalled and we went into the back of him, luckily there was no damage but I do think I slightly scared the poor guy (and the police van that pulled up) as I got out of the car heavily pregnant and sobbing my heart out that that my baby was coming early!!!! I think they were pleased when they realised I didn’t mean at that very moment! I also had to go and buy a nursing bra, as I’d tried the week before and they told me it was too early to be measured, again my gut was telling me otherwise! I was no good there though either and kept blubbing at the poor woman fitting me and got strange looks from other shoppers as I stood in the underwear department in tears! I blame the hormones!

We arrived home and I suddenly realised that I didn’t have any tiny baby clothes, everything in my hospital bag was 9-10lb and I’d been told to expect my daughter to be 4lb!!! I suddenly had a panic and began to blub again. I called my mum who took charge and called at a local supermarket on the way home and bought a load of tiny baby sleepsuits bless her!

That night I just couldn’t sleep, I kept thinking of the fact that the next day I was undergoing major surgery let alone about to become a mum! I suddenly started panicking about what if something went wrong and started muttering about not having a will to my husband and what I wanted to happen! I’ve had several operations on my hips over the years but not for quite some time and I suddenly felt very vulnerable. I don’t think my behaviour put him entirely at ease but I felt I needed to express these things!

The next day after a restless nights sleep and being nil by mouth from the early hours I headed to the hospital. I was greeted by a lovely nurse called Claire, she showed me to our recovery suite and helped me settle in. She was lovely, so calm, so friendly, instantly made me feel at ease. All the necessary checks were done and we were left to sit and wait until the theatre was ready. We were first in but we had to wait until an emergency c-section was completed so we ended up being called a little later than expected. It seemed like an eternity! I can’t even recall how we passed the time!

Once we finally got the nod hubby was dressed in his scrubs and a final bump pic was taken for good measure. I had my pre-med done and the lovely hospital gown donned! I was walked down to the theatre, bare bottom showing to all, to have my spinal put in and was shaking like a leaf! However the fabulous team that met me again instantly put me at ease. I just remember a lovely calming voice of a Scottish nurse and a really friendly anaesthetist, they were like a welcoming committee and chatted to me and really relaxed me totally. The only one freaky moment was the fact that I almost lost consciousness as they were putting my spinal in, I kept telling them I didn’t want to go to sleep and I was going to sleep and then I started to keel over so they grabbed me and laid me down quickly and I came back round. Turns out I had a slight dip in my blood pressure but it corrected itself (freaky though!) Once I was settled they brought my husband in and he sat by me at the top of the bed. The large sheet shield went up and neither of us could see anything. A nurse sat with us at the top end talking to us, as did the anaesthetist, it was all very jolly and surreal. My husband tells me that they hit play on a CD player and David Bowie’s “Changes” came on. I began to feel a bit of tugging and pulling but nothing too bad and then suddenly at 10.09am I heard a cry, it was my baby girl, MY baby girl, I was a mum! They hit stop on the CD player, it had all taken less than the time the track had taken to play out! Incredible! My little girl was wrapped in a blanket and handed to my husband who sat with her against my shoulder. We both just sat in utter amazement staring at our daughter, all the tiny 5lb of her! It took a further 40 mins or so for me to be sewn up and all I can remember is at one point my legs being lifted in the air, I could see them rise above the sheet that had been put up but couldn’t feel them, it was surreal, it was like one of those magic acts where body parts suddenly become separated from one another. I just looked at hubby and in a rather slurred voice said “are those my legs?” to which he started laughing and that in turn made me laugh too!

After around 20 / 30 mins my husband was taken back to our recovery suite by Claire with our daughter so she could be checked over, weighed, cleaned and dressed. By the time I was wheeled back round hubby was sat holding our little girl. It was then that I got my first chance to hold our daughter, skin to skin and try her on the breast, It was an amazing experience! Do I wish I could have held her instantly? Yes. Do I feel I lost out though? No. I still got my moment with my little girl and the important thing was that she was safe and I was safe.

The rest of the day admittedly is a bit of a blur… the drugs were great! ha ha! I remember being brought tea and toast quite soon after coming back to my room and my husband standing holding our little girl as we listened to screams coming from down the corridor. We joked that it was all quite quick and painless really! We spent a few hours in the recovery suite before being wheeled to the labour ward at around 4pm. The flurry of family started, the first being my proud mum and dad to welcome their first grandchild, followed by my sister and her husband and my best friend and a family friend. Our inlaws arrived the following afternoon after a mad dash back from France and they were over the moon!

The first day I didn’t feel much pain but over the next few days I was very uncomfortable, I take strong pain killers anyway for my back and hip so what they were giving me wasn’t doing a thing and I had to ask for something stronger. I don’t think I expected it to hurt as much as it did, every day I was in agony and smiled through the visitors before finally bursting into floods of tears when they left. I think the first night was the hardest, I had the crib laid next to me and could hear my daughter being a little sick, it sounded like she was choking and freaked me out. I was in such agony I couldn’t move to get to her and had to buzz the nurse to come and het her for me. I didn’t like that! However the next night was easier and the electric adjustable beds were a god send! It was quite hilarious watching myself and the girl I was on the bay with taking it in turns through the night to raise up and down like something from Dracula!

When they first got me up out of bed it was horrible. The stitches felt so tight I literally couldn’t stand up straight! I begged the healthcare assistant to stay in the bathroom for me… dignity out of the window! I think I was disillusioned too as I didn’t think I would bleed as much having had a c section… naive! I actually stayed in hospital for 5 days to get my pain under control. I know many women who have been out in 2-3 days no problem and with little pain, but this was just my experience and I felt comfortable knowing I had help close by. Having spent those 5 days in hospital I had got a good handle on looking after my daughter and excellent support breastfeeding so felt comfortable on returning home.

A slightly surreal moment was as one of the midwives was helping me with my breastfeeding (essentially milking me!) and she turned mid way through to tell me she lived in the same street as me! Brings a whole new meaning to popping out for a pint of milk and it’s slightly funny seeing her on a regular basis now but when you have had a baby you kind of don’t worry about the embarassing moments anymore!

It wasn’t until my stitches were removed on day 7 that it felt easier to move, whoever stitched me up had obviously done a corset pull, god were they tight!!!! However once this happened things started to get easier, although I was shocked that I couldn’t even lift a tray with a teapot and cups on when visitors came! I really hadn’t bargained on how much it would affect me. I had hubby about for another week or so and my mum was great popping over to help me. Once hubby returned to work I did struggle to get the moses basket up and down the stairs so mum used to come over around bedtime and tuck me and my daughter up! awww!

I would say I was moving about easier at around 3 weeks and at 4 weeks I got the all clear to drive so it didn’t take too long to get back up and about. My first trip out for a walk around my street was in the second week and I attended a breastfeeding support group with a friend at around 3 weeks. I will have to tell you another time about my first trip out on my own the following week to that group… now that was an experience!

I don’t regret having had a c-section at all. It may have been a rollercoaster road for the 48hrs before but the experience itself was fine. I have an excellent bond with my little girl from day one and this has never changed. I breastfed for 4 months and can honestly say having a c-section didn’t affect the bond or her latching on at all. I don’t feel that I lost out by not having a natural birth and I don’t think I would change the experience if I had to go back. I was there at the birth of my niece recently and it was an unbelievable experience, one I was privileged to be a part of. However I think no matter which way a child comes into the world it’s always unbelievable and special, even when things don’t always go according to plan.

I wanted to write this post to give an honest insight into the experience I had and to reassure mums out there who may have to have a c-section when they desperately want a natural birth, not to worry. The most important thing is that you and your baby are safe.

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