A Mummys View

Telling it like it is

Baby Hip Health Awareness Week – Hoping My Little Girl Won’t Be Affected

In the UK, approx 2000 children a year are diagnosed with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH), which describes a range of conditions from mild instability to total dislocation of the hip. Detecting this early means DDH can often be corrected by simple treatment, but if found later or misdiagnosed it can mean a child requiring hospital stays, operations or even a permanent disability.

As many of my regular readers will know, unfortunately for me, I am in the latter category now. After being diagnosed with DDH as a child I now have a permanent disability with exceptionally limited mobility in one of my hips and a slight discrepancy in the length of one leg compared to the other. (However I am an exception to the norm!)

traction 1

When I had my first daughter I wrote a post entitled Would My Disability Run in the Family? which talked about my experiences as a child through to today and my eldest daughter having to have a hip scan, which thankfully showed as being ok. Now it’s the turn however of my baby girl. We recently attended our local hospital to have the necessary scan and unfortunately on this occassion it hasn’t been as clear cut. The doctors told me that her hips appeared to be sitting high and have asked us to return in 3 weeks time. Apparently this could be due to her being premature and the fact that her adjusted age at the scan is different to that of a baby normally scanned so they are hoping that when they next scan her they will have dropped and everything will be ok. I can but hope! For me it is all too close to home and I don’t want my baby, or any other child for that matter too, going through what I did. That’s why I want to spread the word as much as possible about the importance of hip checks and looking for any signs of problems.

According to the charity STEPS “Many parents felt that there was a lack of information about Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH). Parents also reported that there is a lack of awareness about risk factors such as family history.”

This week (11th – 17th March) is Baby Hip Health Awareness Week, a yearly event run by the charity to to raise awareness amongst parents and health professionals of the vital need to check babies’ hips during the first few weeks of life to prevent unnecessary pain and disability in later years.

STEPS have created a Baby Hip Health booklet which explains why baby’s hips are checked at birth, what the tests are and what happens if a problem is found.  It also explains how to keep your child’s hips healthy.

STEPS baby hip health booklet

All babies are physically examined after they are born and checking the hip joint is part of this examination but hip tests are not 100% accurate and in childhood dislocated hips are not always visible or painful, so STEPS have also created a poster “5 Ways to Check Your Baby’s Hips” which highlights any signs that may indicate that further investigation is needed.

STEPS baby hip health poster

Tight swaddling and spending long periods of time in baby car seats used can also hinder normal hip development.

As with my girls, some babies are more at risk of developing DDH. The risk factors are:

  • Genetic factors (ie someone in the immediate family has also had a developmental problem with a hip).
  • Position of the baby during pregnancy ie a breech presentation.
  • A multiple birth

If your baby is in either of the groups above, they should have an ultrasound examination before 6 weeks old as we have had to. Hopefully for the majority of people there won’t be any issues or any problems can be corrected easily. However if you have a child with a hip condition or require support or information you can contact the STEPS Helpline on 01925 750271 or email info@steps-charity.org.uk Alternatively visit their website www.steps-charity.org.uk My family have found the charity a huge help over the years as the stories and advice in their newsletters have provided much reassurance and support. I hope others can take full advantage and feel the same.

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CLIC Sargent’s Great Mums Get Together

Last year I was proud to hold my own Yummy Mummy Coffee Morning in aid of CLIC Sargent’s Yummy Mummy Coffee Morning Campaign and raised £150 for the charity. This year, although I haven’t been able to organise my own event, having just had my little girl, I am keen to support the campaign and have been helping with the promotion of an event local to me that I am attending, so also wanted to share this fantastic campaign with all my lovely followers.

This year the Yummy Mummy Coffee Morning has been replaced by The Great Mums Get Together, which is running between 10th and 17th March. The campaign offers people the chance to get together and raise money for children and young people with cancer and their family.

“Every day 10 children and young people in the UK hear the shocking news they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Being diagnosed with cancer is a frightening experience and the emotional, practical and financial implications of treatment are intensely challenging for the whole family.”

CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, and their families. They provide clinical, practical, financial and emotional support to help young people cope with cancer and get the most out of life. They are there from diagnosis onwards and CLIC Sargent aim to help the whole family deal with the impact of cancer and its treatment, life after treatment and, in some cases, bereavement.

The Great Mums Get Together is a great opportunity for us Great Mums to… well… Get Together and raise some fantastic money for an amazing charity. I really enjoyed my event last year and am pleased to be involved in some way again this year. If you too want to get involved in this year’s campign you can sign up online call 08451 206 658 or email gettogether@clicsargent.org.uk.

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Could you take life saving action for your child?

Have you ever wondered how you might react in a real life emergency situation should your child have an accident or fall ill? I have!

Becoming a mum and having that precious little life in your hands certainly makes you aware of a lot more things!

When weaning my little girl I was so paranoid that she would choke! Every time she gagged a little I would jump up in panic that she was choking. I actually had (and still have) instructions on my kitchen pin board as to what do to in a choking situation and how to do baby and toddler CPR. But in all reality, in that split second, would I really have time to go and get the instructions and calmly follow them? Probably not! However it is a step towards knowing what to do!

A survey of over 2,000 parents, undertaken by Bounty’s Word of Mum™ panel, found that 96% of respondents agreed that all parents should have some first aid knowledge and I have to say I do agree. The study identified the main fears of parents as choking, treating an unconscious baby or child and meningitis – however despite this, apparently many parents struggle to find the time to learn how to treat these cases.

When my friend’s little boy was less than a year old he was playing in a friend’s front room when the worst situation happened and he briefly stopped breathing. He had been sat with his back to his mum and had been playing with a toy that had a drum stick style gadget. Suddenly he went very quiet and his mum realised something wasn’t right.. When she went over she discovered he had managed to swallow part of the stick and it was affecting his breathing and he was turning blue. I remember my friend telling me how immediate panic set in. She was however exceptionally fortunate that the friends house they were at was a nurse and she carried out the necessary emergency first aid, which brought him round. I can’t imagine how I would have felt or what could have happened had her friend not been there!

In the last week, in response to the Bounty survey survey, the British Red Cross has launched a nationwide campaign aimed at getting all parents to learn first aid. The First Aid Challenge campaign asks parents to sign up to three simple challenges, which includes watching an online video, signing up to a First Aid course and supporting a campaign to encourage school children to learn first aid by downloading a letter to send to a local school.

“Children don’t come with an instruction manual, and the level of responsibility you have for your child can be quite daunting. We all mean to learn first aid at some point, so let’s do it now. By taking part in the First Aid Challenge, you’ll learn skills that could save a life.”
Konnie Huq, mother and First Aid Challenge supporter

By signing up you can:

  • Get £5 off a first aid for baby and child course.
  • Get £3 off First Aid Fast for babies and children manual.
  • Receive a monthly first aid newsletter, regular first aid updates, tips and stories.
  • Download a first aid factsheet.
  • Enter a prize draw for £500 Mothercare vouchers.

I attempted to sign up to a first aid course when my daughter was younger but for one reason or another it didn’t happen or I couldn’t make, I can’t actually remember which it is, and admittedly didn’t reorganise. Reading the information about the campaign and thinking back to what happened to my friend has made me realise that it can mean the difference between life and death and isn’t something to be taken lightly. Therefore, with my little girl at the forefront of my mind and baby number two on the way too I am pledging to take the challenge and I am signing up to the British Red Cross First Aid Challenge!

Will you join me?

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Syria: A Day Of Protest

So the other night I turned the TV on just as the news headlines were on and was shocked and appalled to hear about the slaughter of not only innocent people, but innocent CHILDREN in Houla, Syria. On 25th May at least 180 people were killed, mostly women (34) and children (49) in what appears to be an initial shell attack on the town, which ended in house by house killings late into the night. Whilst some appear to have been killed by the shell fire, most were shot or stabbed at close range in what was frankly a callous attack on innocent civilians, unable to defend themselves.

Who carried out these horrendous killings remains a matter of contention. Anti-government activists, eyewitnesses and human rights groups point the finger at the Syrian army and the shabiha, a sectarian civilian militia that supports the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian government however denies all responsibility, saying its soldiers were attacked and armed terrorists went on to shoot and knife civilians. (BBC)

I have to confess as the images hit the screens I had to turn off in shock as it upset me so much. I immediately thought to my little girl asleep upstairs and how I would feel if someone came out of the blue and took her young life for no reason and even more so in such a barbaric and despicable manner. Children are innocent, defenceless young things, their eyes are only just opening to the world around them, they have no grudges or hatred, they need to be nurtured, cared for and loved and to think that thousands if not millions of children around the world don’t have this and are experiencing war, poverty and hurt on a daily basis crushes me as a human being.

When I heard about bloggers uniting to help promote the fact that Save the Children were launching a petition calling on world leaders to put in place an immediate and legally binding “Resolution to Protect Children” that carries the full force of international law on those attacking children and other civilians, I knew I had to help.

Save the Children believe “Thousands more children are experiencing terrible suffering and trauma in Syria, yet aid agencies aren’t yet able to get urgent help to these children who have been injured and traumatised by the conflict. Unless more action is taken now to stop the fighting, we are likely to see the further slaughter of children in Syria.”

As Save the Children so rightly say, “no child is born to die” and with that in mind I urge you to show your support, sign the petition and help put the strength of the united world wide web voice to world leaders to take action and stop the loss of more innocent young lives.

If you would like to get involved further you can also write a post of your own to share with your followers and link up to Britmums Blog – Syria: A Day of Protest campaign, or help promote the petition and campaign by mentioning it via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media methods using #Syria #TippingPoint #StoptheKilling and sharing or RT others posts.

You can also sign an online petition at Avaaz.org (please be aware there are distressing images).

My baby is tucked up safe asleep upstairs, shouldn’t every child deserve the same?

Together we can be heard!

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DysNet – Bringing Together the Dysmelia Community

So, many of you who regularly read my blog will know that I am a disabled mummy and was born with hip displacyia or CDH as it was known then), so I have a lower limb abnormality you could say.

I am certainly up for supporting charitable causes and so far in my very small blogging life I have been involved in the #Blogitforbabies Save the Children campaign, the ONE Thrive campaign, I’ve held a Yummy Mummy fundraising event for CLIC Sargent and devised and launched #Blogging4Madeleine in support of finding Madeleine McCann.

I was recently contacted by the lovely Tania Tirraoro who told me about DysNet a new online community to support people with limb differences (otherwise known as Dysmelia) and with having a limb abnormality myself I was only too  happy to help.

The DysNet site went live on Monday 21st May and aims to provide up-to-date information, support and research for people with limb differences throughout the world.

I think this is a great tool, as I remember how my family felt when I was younger and they were coming to terms with my disability. They came across a wonderful charity called STEPS who provided and still continue to provide fabulous support to people with lower limb abnormalities. So, in the current digital age that we live in and with so many people turning to the world wide web for answers to their questions, the launch of a website like DysNet is fantastic in helping provide support to people who either have had Dysmelia for some time, or who are just experiencing it and want to find out more and have that same support that my family had all those years ago.

It is hoped that individuals will contribute to the online knowledge base to share expertise and resources that could benefit others that are in a similar position. By sharing experiences, guidance and advice, lives can be improved and fulfilled, my own experiences are testament to that.

DysNet is also launching an online community called RareConnect. It will be a trusted and monitored environment for everyone involved in Dysmelia to make connections. It will be available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, meaning the support can be spread wider, breaking down language barriers and opening up new connections and opportunities.

If you are affected by or want to find out more about Dysmelia then please do visit DysNet

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Help Bring Home Madeleine McCann – Launching #Blogging4Madeleine

Today is Madeleine McCann’s 9th Birthday.

Madeleine, a British youngster, was abducted whilst on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal on Thursday 3rd May 2007.

Despite worldwide apparent sightings and information she still hasn’t been found.

Today myself and the lovely Tea&Biscotti are launching #Blogging4Madeleine a campaign that is bringing together bloggers, hopefully in their hundreds, to write posts about Madeleine’s disappearance and help spread the word worldwide that she is still missing and to not give up hope on her and bring her home to her parents where she belongs.

I can only imagine the heartbreak her parents must be going through, not knowing where their little girl is. Having a child myself that I worship and adore I honestly don’t think I could cope. I have been in tears just watching the video appeals on the FindMadeleine official website and this amazing YouTube post made by a lovely campaigner. My daughter means the world to me and to lose her in any way would break my heart, but for her to be taken in the middle of the night and to still, all these years down the line, have no idea what happened, who has her or where she is would just crush me, I don’t know how I would come back from that.

Madeleine was only three years old when she was taken.

She was an innocent little girl enjoying a holiday with her mummy, daddy and her little brother and sister until someone callously snatched her from her bed, taking her away from everything she knew and loved.

Someone out there KNOWS what happened to Madeleine. Someone KNOWS where she is. It’s never to late to come forward with any information.

The Metropolitan Police Force recently released this picture of Madeleine as they think she could look now. They believe Madeleine McCann could still be alive. They have identified 195 potential investigatory leads and are revisiting hundreds of previously uninvestigated calls that were received from psychics and others following her disappearance in a hope that some of the information may corroborate more tangible information already received.

If you see a young girl who looks like this,PLEASE CONTACT:

Your local police force immediately, AND

Operation Grange
0207 321 9251 (in the UK)
+44 207 321 9251 (non-UK)

Operation.Grange@met.pnn.police.uk

OR Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Please join our #Blogging4Madeleine campaign and help spread the word, share the images and links and lets bring this little girl home to her family where she belongs.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • If you are a blogger why not write a post of your own, tag others to do the same, include #blogging4madeleine and come back to this page and Tea&Biscotti’s blog to share your post with us. You can also share it at the Britmums link up too
  • The Find Madeleine website has lots of banners, posters and images that you can download and circulate
  • Download the new age-progression poster of Madeleine from the website and display it in prominent places. The posters are available in many different languages so you can also take them with you when going on your holidays.
  • Car stickers, Luggage tags and Prayer cards are also available – To obtain contact the Find Madeline campaign email address with your details- campaign@findmadeleine.com
  • Carry a Madeleine ‘business card’ in your wallet or purse or a photo and the investigation helpline number in your mobile phone. This will allow you to have instant access to a photograph of her and the investigation contact number, should you see a little girl who looks like Madeleine.
  • Social networking sites: If you are a member of ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’, ‘Google+’ or other social networking sites, you could share this post or those written by other bloggers, add a Madeleine banner to your site and follow or make the ‘find madeleine’ site your ‘friend’.
  • Donate to Madeleine’s Fund ‘Leaving No Stone Unturned‘ – This can be done via several routes including via the website.
  • Join Support Groups: The ‘Helping To Find Madeleine’ group was set up shortly after Madeleine’s abduction, by caring people wanting to help with the search for Madeleine. Visit www.helpingtofindmadeleine.org

We came up with the idea of #Blogging4Madeleine following reading that it was about to be her 9th birthday and that a new picture of what she may look like now was being released. It breaks my heart to think that her parents still don’t know where she is or what happened. I am writing this post with dozens of other lovely blogger friends and hopefully many more to help keep the search for Madeleine McCann alive. We want to help spread the word and remind people to keep looking and to not give up on Maddie. With the blogging and social media community being a global one together we can help to continue to spread the word to all four corners of the globe.

What will you do to help bring Maddie home?

#Blogging4Madeleine

Happy Birthday sweet Maddie, our thoughts and prayers are with you and we all hope that one day you will be found and returned to your family who miss you so much.

xxx

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Would my disability run in the family???

So if you have read some of my other blog posts you will know that I have a disability. I was born with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) and have had 9 operations on my legs and hips over the years, including a leg lengthening operation.

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is when the ball and socket do not fit snugly together.  According the the charity STEPS about 1 or 2 in every 1,000 babies has a hip problem that requires treatment and there are varying degrees of severity, some will just have immature hips that correct themselves, others will have DDH and require treatment.

I had to undergo a significant amount of treatment and ended up on all kinds of traction and with various plasters and splints within hours of being born as some of the below pics show. (I think I hung in every position possible!)

Unfortunately for me, things weren’t as advanced back then and over the years things didn’t always go according to plan, as a result I still have problems and my mobility in recent years has deteriorated. I don’t let it hinder me much though and as you can see from my blog I have gone on to marry and have a lovely daughter with my caring hubby.

Because of my history though my little girl had to have a scan of her hips a few weeks after she was born to check that she was ok, as there is a genetic link that means DDH can be hereditary and there’s also an increased chance in breech birth‘s (which she was too). It was a very worrying time, especially with all that had happened to me. My friends and family were probably as nervous as we were to know if she had been passed the same problem down the line. (My niece has also just had to be scanned because of the family link too.)

The day came for the scan at the hospital and we were led into a room in the xray department for an ultrasound style scan. The team that greeted us and carried out the scan were fantastic, it took hardly no time at all and thankfully we were told there and then that everything appeared normal. (Thankfully my niece has been given the all clear too.)

I was so pleased that my little girl won’t have to go through any of the things that I did. However I know that had we received different news we would have managed. The medical advancements now are much better and as a result fewer children go on to have further problems, most are corrected very early on.

However I wanted to share my story with you to make people aware of the importance of monitoring things like limb development etc in the early weeks, months and years.

ALL babies’ hips are checked at birth and at 6-8 weeks as part of a national screening programme called the Newborn Infant Physical Examination (NIPE).  However the physical examination is not 100% accurate as this only detects hip instability at the time of the examination. This means that some babies might appear to be normal at the tests but develop problems later or that DDH has not been picked up at the initial examination. As formal checks finish after the 6-8 week check, parents or grandparents are often best at noticing signs of a hip problem.

If you notice any of these signs you should contact your health professional as soon as possible to be referred to an orthopaedic specialist for an ultrasound or xray to confirm a diagnosis of DDH:

  • Deep unequal creases in the buttocks or thighs
  • When changing a nappy one leg does not seem to move outwards as fully as the other or both legs seem restricted
  • Your child crawls with one leg dragging
  • Inequality in leg length
  • A limp if one leg is affected or abnormal ‘waddling’ walk if both hips are affected.
  • Do remember that a hip not properly in joint does not hurt in childhood.

The above information was taken from the charity STEPS website. Should you have to have any concerns, have to have further tests for your child, or receive news that they have some form of lower limb problem, then  STEPS can be an enormous support. My family and I have had links with them since I was a toddler and still keep up to date with their work now, many years down the line. They offer advice, guidance and support to individuals, families and carers in what can be a confusing time.

As I have been getting to know other parent bloggers and checking out their blogs I have come across a couple of lovely mummy bloggers who are going through similar things at present, Emma from Emma and three and Molly from Mother’s Always Right both have stories to share and their children are gorgeous, courageous, outgoing little people who despite being held back a little with their mobility at this point in time are still living life to the full and enjoying exploring the world around them. I have no doubt that whilst things are hard for them at present and frustrating for all concerned it won’t be long before their little ones are chasing down their playmates and I look forward to reading all about it as their stories hit a very personal note for me.

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More Informed Birthing Choices for Women or Cost Cutting Measures?

It’s hit the headlines this last week that home births may be a safer and cheaper option than hospital and this in turn could also save the NHS a significant amount of money.

The study carried out by University of Oxford Researchers looked at 64,000 births in Englandbetween 2008 – 2010 and the relative costs of healthy births in different settings.

It found a planned birth in an obstetric unit was the most expensive option for mothers who already have children and a planned home birth was the cheapest. In addition, for people who haven’t had children before, a planned birth in a midwife-led unit is cheaper than one in an obstetric unit.

However according to the Royal College of Midwives* 96% of births still happen in hospital.

The Department of Health* has stated:

“As we modernise the NHS we have made it a priority to offer women choices in where they give birth.”

I personally am all for home-births and birth’s in midwife led units. However I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people say

“I planned a home birth and ended up being rushed into hospital”

or

“I was all set to give birth at the midwife led unit but then had to be rushed to the nearby hospital due to complications”.

Every mother dreams of an uncomplicated birth but the reality is that many unfortunately don’t have the choice in the first place (breech babies, etc) or last minute complications take the decision out of their hands.

If recommendations are to be made I am all in favour however the cost mustn’t be at the expense of the mother or baby. Mother’s must be able to make an informed decision and alternatives need to remain in place for any last minute changes or emergency’s. The Government and NHS need to assure this is the case and not just make moves to purely save money.

As you will have read in my birth story “Oh My God My Baby’s Coming Early” I didn’t have the choice, last minute complications and a breech position meant an inevitable quick c-section for me. I don’t know anyone who has had the home water birth or birth in a midwife led unit that they wanted. Am I wrong in this assumption? How did your birth go? Did it go according to plan? Would you have preferred an alternative birth? Did you have a home birth or midwife led birth? I’d love to hear your views and / or stories. Why not comment or link up with me below?

Whilst this post is talking about the service available to mums-to-be here in the UK I do want to also highlight a Save the Children campaign that I just wrote about recently to help expectant mums in developing countries too. #Blogitforbabies is a fab campaign being headed up by the lovely Mammasaurus.

We mustn’t forget that we are very lucky when compared to mum’s in Bangladesh. They don’t have the luxury of an NHS healthcare and 1 in 19 children don’t live to see their fifth birthday because of limited access to basic healthcare services. This means that preventable diseases are claiming the lives of innocent young children and babies.

Save the Children is appealing for £1 million to build life-saving clinics in some of the poorest and remotest areas of Bangladesh. If you haven’t already please take a look at ways you too can get involved in Save the Children’s campaign.

In the meantime I’d love to hear your views on the study here in the UK, the recommendations and what your experiences were!

*comments taken from article in The Guardian

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I am Supporting the #Blog it for Babies Campaign

Having been reading blogs by a  number of lovely parent bloggers of late, (namely Mammasaurus, HPMcQ and Mother.Wife.Me) about the Save the Children campaign Build it for Babies and the subsequent Blog it for Babies campaign I felt inspired to get involved and share my birthing story again as part of a Blog it for babies initiative to raise awareness of the campaign.

But before I post my story here’s a bit of information about the Save the Children Build it for Babies campaign.

In Bangladesh 1 in 19 children don’t live to see their fifth birthday because of limited access to basic healthcare services. This means that preventable diseases are claiming the lives of innocent young children and babies.

Save the Children is appealing for £1 million to build life-saving clinics in some of the poorest and remotest areas of Bangladesh.

The clinics will reach:

  • 21,500 women of child-bearing age with family planning services
  • 3,000 pregnant women with antenatal care
  • 2,190 newborn babies with postnatal care, breastfeeding support for their mothers and antibiotics when they become ill
  • 2,218 infants aged up to one year, by helping their mothers to breastfeed and wean them safely and reducing the chance of life-threatening diseases such as diarrhoea and the risk of malnutrition
  • 43,600 people in the area with information on how to stay healthy and where to get help if they do become ill
Not bad reading is it?! So here’s my stab at raising the profile of the campaign by sharing my birth story…
Below is an extract from my post Oh My God My Baby’s Coming Early posted back on March 14th 2012.

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 so they decided to send me for a growth scan and booked me in for the next day.  At the scan I was told that my amniotic fluid levels appeared low and they were concerned about the blood supply from the placenta as this also appeared low. I was asked to go along to the day assessment unit straight away for a CTG (listen to the baby’s heart beat), the results of which luckily came back fine.

I was booked in to see the consultant again the next morning and when we arrived 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. I did in fact spend the whole day in a bewildered and hysterical state of shock and fear, rushing to prepare for the arrival of my little girl the following day!

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.

Reading this back it makes me realise what quick, life saving action was taken for my little girl and what fantastic support I had from the staff at the hospital, from the minute I arrived to the minute I left. Women in Bangladesh aren’t as lucky as we are but with the support of Save the Children’s Build it for Babies campaign more support than ever before and life saving action can be taken for these mothers and mothers to be. What’s good too is the fact that we can help make this difference, by spreading the word, raising the profile and encouraging people to support the campaign.
If this has inspired you to support the campaign, you can do so in a number of ways:

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ONE Thrive: Food.Farming.Future Campaign

Last week I received a message from the lovely Mummy From the Heart regarding a new campaign called Thrive: Food.Farming.Future. It’s being run by One.org, a grass roots campaigning and advocacy organisation that is giving a voice to those that are not heard at the moment, and for whom Mummy From the Heart is a mum ambassador.

The campaign, which will run until 2015, calls on each of us to play our part to break the cycle of hunger and poverty, by tackling the root causes.

Millions of people world wide are locked in a vicious cycle of hunger and poverty. Poverty means parents can’t feed their families the nutritious food they need and this can leave children hungry and malnourished. Malnutrition leads to poor development and shorter, less productive lives, which in turn means less likelihood of escaping poverty and so the cycle starts again.

Facts:

  • More than a billion people, that’s 1 in 5 of the world’s population (20%), live on less than 79p a day ($1.25), meaning a billion people will go to bed hungry tonight.
  • 178 million children won’t reach their full development potential before their 3rd birthday and as a result their little brains and bodies will never fully recover.

ONE is calling on African leaders, donor governments and the private sector to focus on thirty of the world’s poorest countries that have smart agriculture and nutrition plans, which are tested and affordable, and to put them into practice. These plans could work, but for them to do so they need political leadership and financial backing and the Thrive: Food.Farming.Future campaign is insisting on both.

The aim of the campaign is to use our collective voices and to make a noise to urge leaders to take this action, hoping  that by 2015:

  • We could see 15 million fewer children chronically malnourished
  • and 50 million people lifted out of extreme poverty

As a mother I know I would do anything to help a child who is hungry or in need, no child should ever have to suffer, every child should have love and support and a voice. Many of the children in the world’s poorest countries don’t have a voice so together we can give them one and help save their lives.

How you can help:

  • Sign up and offer your voice to ONE.org We, the general population, can help them to put pressure on African leaders, donor governments and the private sector. ONE’s strength is its collective action – one plus one plus one quickly adds up to a lion’s roar.
  • Spread the word with a blog post and through other social media – please put a post on your blog and / or share about the ONE Thrive Food.Farming.Future campaign through your other social media outlets. See this Google Doc for some simple information you can use in your post. If you do blog about this then please link back to Mummy From the Heart as the campaign can use her blog post full of linked up posts to show to our Government and influential institutions that there is a strength of opinion in our blogsphere. Our voices count! (Tweet #LetsThrive)
  • And finally Sign the petition

Together we can make a difference! There’s living proof you can watch a great video here

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