Thursday, 28 February 2013

Difficult But Life Saving Choices

Have you added your children to the organ donor register? Its not an easy decision. I can understand that.

Being responsible for yourself, that’s one thing. Saying, hell yeah, if I die you can take the lot, but your child, that’s a different matter! Yet I think it is important to think about it.

What if, dare we even think such a thing, it was my child????? Yes, what if it was my child that needed a heart? They have weeks to live unless some other poor family have to experience their own tragedy and that family then agree to save the life of another child by allowing their child’s heart to be donated. Deep within their own grief they have to make the difficult selfless decision to help another family in ways that I’m sure no one can imagine unless they’ve been there.

Couldn’t I just wait and ‘cross that bridge’ if it happens? Its not a nice thing to consider the death of your child at any time but when they are healthy and still so young...though I am not sure whether I’d be able to make that kind of decision at the point it was actually needed, when I was so full of grief and emotion. So it is a decision I’d rather face now when I am clear-headed.

From what I understand, you still get the final say at the time of the incident anyway but having known I thought it was the right thing to do at one point it may prompt me to think of the reasons why and to make the difficult final decision to go ahead with the donation(s). Of course, it wouldn’t be the decision of just one of us parents, it would be a joint decision so, if one parent was wavering, again, having discussed it and agreed to sign them onto the register could help.

I would then hope I got some comfort knowing that the death of my beloved child was not completely in vain and that part of them will live on.

I wanted to add Callum a few years back but when I first broached the subject with Stuart, theoretically he was for it but wasn’t ready at that point to add his name to the register there and then. It then came up again a couple of nights ago and Stuart asked if the children were on the register. I said they weren’t but I wanted them to be and he agreed that he also felt they should. So I did it, quick, before either of us changed our mind.

Now I just hope we are never in a position where we need to follow that decision through or where we ourselves are facing the prospect of losing our child should a donor not be available.

Maybe signing them onto the register is still a step too much at this stage but at the very least I urge you to have the discussion, if appropriate, with your partner/the other parent to your child(ren). You may be thinking the decision is simple in your head but are you both on the same page? I’m pretty sure you wont want to be having a deep debate on the subject at the critical hour…or minutes.

Of course, I wouldn’t sign up my children if it wasn’t something I was prepared to do myself. I am already a registered organ donor, bone marrow donor and as of this week, I’m now allowed to give blood (you need to wait 6 months after giving birth) so will be finding my nearest blood donation centre right after publishing this post.

After mentioning on Twitter that I had registered Callum and Millie on the Donor Register, a Follower pointed me in the direction of @TobysGift and through that Twitter account I found the blog TobysGift’s Blog, written by a Mum, Sally, who has already had to face this heartbreak and now promotes and supports organ donation. Perhaps you might like to take a read if you are thinking about organ donation.

For more information, to register yourself or your children, please go to the NHS Organ Donor Register or click on the picture at the top of this post.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

BLW–And We’re Off!

If you read my previous post, Why I Can’t Wait for Weaning, you’d know how excited I was for Millie to turn 6 months so we could start Baby-Led Weaning. We did Baby-Led Weaning with Callum and I couldn’t wait to try it again with Millie. The date she turned 6 months was Wednesday, 20 February. I thought it couldn’t hurt to go by 6 months in weeks (24 weeks) and I assumed that would be sooner than the Wednesday, so started ‘officially’ on the Saturday before.

For the previous couple of weeks Millie had been really honing in on whatever we were eating and if we made the mistake of passing our hands holding an item of food within the reach of Millie, she’d be on it! Dragging it to her mouth!

So, when we popped out for a pub lunch and Millie, while sat on my lap, reached out to my (undressed) salad, I let her. Red and yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes (halved), lambs lettuce and cucumber. She tried it all, enthusiastically. Of course, just gumming it some and not consuming, but she gave it all a good go.

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Since then, as is normal with BLW, its been a bit here and there. I’m keen to keep what she tries as healthy as possible and our diet hasn’t always been that healthy or its just been unsuitable. That said, I think there has only been one day where she hasn’t been offered anything at all.

Her interest in the food once she has it is very changeable. Sometimes gumming it with gusto, often biting bits off then coughing or gagging them out or sometimes showing no interest at all after an initial investigation with her hands.

I will say, she is much more inclined to go for the food if it is from a plate in front of me and she is sat on my lap. She looks really put out if I’m eating something and she isn’t allowed to try any.

Things we have offered her in the past week (aside from those always mentioned):

Apple on a core – loves
Toast fingers – loves
Cheese omlette – no interest
Roast chicken – bit of interest but not much past first gum
Cheddar & Babybel Cheese – likes
Brie – no real interest
Banana – liked but didn’t like it in her mouth
Sausage – tasted but no real interest
Butternut squash & potato mash on a pre-loaded spoon – appeared most perturbed that her play spoon had some mush on it
Wheatabix on a pre-loaded spoon – pulled a funny face at first but wasn’t too disgusted
Roast potato, roast sweet potato and roast carrot – tasted but not much interest after initial taste
Grapes (halved) – liked
Peas – not expecting her to get any to her mouth, was more just to play with while Callum had his dinner
Rice krispies – as above but substitute dinner for breakfast
Cheesey pasta – played with her hands but didn’t taste

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I keep making food for Callum but his meal time will coincide with her nap time so she doesn’t get to try anything.

Mostly, anything that she gets in her mouth is either just gummed or spat back out but there was a tiny shred of evidence in her nappy this morning (the joys of studying baby poo!!!!) in the form of tiny black wormlike fibres (they didn’t wiggle!), most likely to be the banana.

Along with the food, I’ve tried to introduce water in a shot glass. I still hold it for her at the moment as her co-ordination is still quite wild but she asks for it and I let her control her head and mouth towards the glass, just tipped enough so she can get to the water. I’ve Callum’s old doidy cup at the ready. As soon as I see she her dexterity improving, I’ll be giving her free reign with the doidy cup.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Can You Hear What I hear?…Apparently not!

Oh dear, bad mummy alert!

Over the past year, particularly, I have been growing increasingly frustrated with the amount I have to repeat myself. Its bad enough that I find I’m talking to myself most of the time when I speak to Stuart but it should’ve been no surprise that the miniature-Stuart that is our son was following suit. He would ask me to repeat what I was saying “I cannot what you’re saying” and I’d barely get the first word out again when he’d say “pardon mummy”. “Just listen”, I’d say crossly, “if you want to hear what I’m saying then you need to listen”. If his attention was on something else he just wouldn’t hear you at all. Again, I put it down to being male and having selective hearing.

Some days I took responsibility on myself and blamed myself for talking too quickly which I know I do.

But after staying with my parents for a few days, my Mum commented on the same thing so I thought it best to rule out any hearing problems by taking him to the doctor.

I really didn’t think it would show up with anything as he can hear you when you are behind him, doesn’t ask for the TV or iPad to be turned up loud, in fact, he often complains when music is too loud.

Stuart also tells me he went for hearing tests when he was young and it pretty much confirmed that it was an attention thing. Not as in an attention seeking thing but as in when he is focused on something he just isn’t aware that anything else…bomb explosion, meteor shower, hurricane…is happening let alone anyone is actually talking to him.

So, along we went to the Dr who, after much distress on Callum’s part (he is scared of the Dr since his last injections) confirmed she was sure he was fine but to be sure she would request a hearing test.

Today was the day of the hearing check.

The doctor asked me the usual questions about noise level on the TV, whether he suffered with an unusually high number of colds, what his speech was like. For most I said I hadn’t noticed anything I would class as unusual except that his speech was a little slower than average but still not enough to be concerned.

So the doctor bought out some toys and played a ‘game’. There were a number of objects that he asked Callum what they were as he put them all down – duck, house, tree, lamb, cow, horse, key, man – he then asked him to point to the object he said, starting with covering his mouth (the doctor covered his own mouth, not Callum’s) then uncovered, then louder. At first I just thought Callum was shy or a little scared still, he didn’t want to point. He wouldn’t point using my hand either. Then he pointed at random objects so I thought he was just playing but would eventually point at the correct object when the Dr said it loudly. The Dr did have a strong accent but I still think he said the objects clear enough that they could be understood by Callum.

So next was a look in Callum’s ear with the ‘magic torch’ followed by another test that was described to Callum as listening to a buzzy bee…putting a probe thing in his ear and bouncing back a buzzing sound to his ear drum.

The doctor then explained that on a ‘normal’ ear/eardrum the graph would show a steep peak. Sometimes there is fluid behind the ear which means the eardrum is dull. The graph for Callum was completely flat…not even a slight mound. His ear was full of fluid behind his eardrum. He has glue ear!

Mummy guilt big time!

This means we are now on the road to grommets.

Things have changed since my siblings and I were kids and had them fitted. Two of us had just one with one of us having 2. Apparently there are stricter guidelines now. You should only be referred if:

  1. you require them in both ears – tick
  2. there is a noticeable hearing loss – tick
  3. that 3 months since first diagnosis passes to allow time for them to get better by themselves – this is where we are at now.

There needs to be a further ‘decibel’ test which can take 6 to 12 weeks to come through which the Ears, Nose & Throat clinic will require to accept him so this will take us to the 3 months and will enable us to see if it is worse because of him suffering with a cold at the moment and whether there is any chance it will get better of its own accord. If no improvement and depending on the result of the decibel test, we will then get referred.

In the meantime, I’ll be vowing to be more patient, speak more clearly, more slowly and happily accept I’ll need to repeat myself!!

Friday, 15 February 2013

On the verge

In 5 days time, Millie is going to be 6 months old.

She is changing so quickly. Its hard to believe that it wasn’t only yesterday that she was a real babe in arms with her head supported in the cradle position.

Now she is sitting up…although still toppling a little bit. She can sometimes stay sitting up playing for a good 5 minutes unsupported. She loves sitting up too – fighting it if you lay her down or put her in her bouncy chair.

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Despite showing early signs in both rolling and sleeping through the night…neither have been regular occurrences. She has still only rolled front to back and only a handful of times. She swings her legs and arches her back so that she nearly rolls over, she looks like a contortionist.

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Sleepwise, she ‘usually’ doesn’t need feeding after a dreamfeed at around 10pm but that doesn’t mean she sleeps through. She has taken to waking up around 3am every night. Sometimes just needing a dummy or a cuddle, but more often she struggles to settle back to sleep with the dummy, falls off to sleep with a cuddle but wakes again when placed back in the cot. I eventually end up feeding her but not before I’ve already been awake for an hour and I’m not convinced she is waking for the feed. She cries differently.

We are going to try without the dreamfeed tonight to see what happens. I’m happy to feed her when she wakes but I remember the dreamfeed not working for Callum and I know she has been able to go for long stretches before now without the dreamfeed so it might work. The thing with Millie (and I’m sure many a baby) is that everything seems to work for the first couple of times then her sleep pattern gets all messed up again, whether due to teething, a new development stage, stuffy nose or just because.

Speaking of development stages, her latest trick is the bashing movement. As its new (this week) I’m quite excited by this. She hasn’t got enough strength to be too loud or damaging yet but I imagine as her confidence grows the loudness will come with it.

She is really into faces and wanting to explore them with her hands and she likes playing with my hair…when she is meant to be trying to get back to sleep at 3am!!

She has good hand to mouth co-ordination now which is great in light of starting to wean her next week. I’ve been giving her a spoon to play with at meal times and she loves a good chomp on that. She has a great expression when we’re eating as if to say “OK, so where’s mine?”, looking at the food, looking at me, then looking at the food again. I know this is curiosity and she has no awareness of what ‘eating’ actually is but its a positive sign that she will enjoy exploring this funny food stuff next week. She ‘may’ already have sucked on a banana and an apple core…oops!

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You know, I think development phase may actually be the key to her unsettled nights! She is on the verge of so many things – very nearly rolling, just learnt to sit up, about to start weaning, having more control of her arms etc. She is also looking like she is going to change her nap cycle too as her first nap of the day can just be 10 minutes sometimes.

I think there are exciting times just around the corner…and may be even a little bit of sleep!

Hoping!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Time is a gift and not to be wasted

Occasionally, there will be an event, a tragedy, a moment, something said, that makes you take a look at yourself and you realise you need to change, that your priorities are wrong.

It is unfortunate that so often it takes for something negative to lead you to do this but as long as we learn from our lessons and take something positive from it, we are only human and we should forgive ourselves.
A couple of these things happened last week that made me look introspectively at myself & realise I needed to change.

The first being the tragic and very unexpected loss of a young baby girl’s life. At just 9 months with no warning. I can’t even begin to imagine what her family are going through. They are the thoughts that when you have children you try constantly to push back into the darkest depths of your subconscious. My thoughts now go out to them. This unimaginable tragedy happened to a Mummy on Twitter, a mummy blogger which for some reason our paths haven’t before crossed on Twitter but she and her family have clearly touched so many and my Twitter timeline was full of fellow Tweeters paying their respects for her sad loss.

I, in no way, wish to compare as I have had no direct experience and everyone’s loss and grief is a personal thing but my poor Mum & (older) Sister have experienced the loss of a baby as my Sister was a twin but sadly, her identical twin sister, passed away at just 6 weeks old. In fact, it is the 39th anniversary of her death next week. Anita  is very much still a part of our family, even for me who wasn’t around when she was born. She is our family Guardian Angel. She is often talked about, talked to and remembered constantly.  A family doesn’t ever really get over that type of tragedy even though you learn to move on.

For this reason, I have been a little more aware, a little more nervous for the first 6 weeks of both my babies’ lives than perhaps I would’ve been. To know that after 9 months of carrying this little growing life inside you that you bring safely into this world, learn to love, get to know, ready to protect with your own life, then suddenly to find they can be taken away from you. As I say, we so often have to push those thoughts away to enable us to live our lives the best we can. I was already anxious for the first 6 weeks but this has reminded me, it can happen any time, 9 months, a year, 5 years, 11 years, 18 years…it is not right when a child goes before their parents whatever the age!

The second thing to make me think was a simple sentence from my Son, Callum. I confess to being a bit rubbish at playing with my children. I have a short attention span for such a thing, especially when it involves imaginary play – which is surprising considering I’ve always wanted to be an actress. I lose patience quickly whenever I try to do creative craft, arty stuff or cooking with Callum so, although I do these things from time to time, I no where near do them often enough.

I am also rubbish during the winter at getting motivated to getting outside the house so, unless I have something planned in advance, I can quite easily waste a day inside doing not a lot.

The worst thing I can do first thing in the morning, is pick up my laptop. For there I am glued until I am made to move by the needs of one of my children or my own hunger, thirst or call of nature.

What was the simple sentence uttered by my dearest son that made me ashamed and want to change? “Mummy I don’t like it when you sit here all the time” referring to usual position of my arse sat on the sofa with my laptop on my lap, or close by if I’m holding Millie

Shit! I can sometimes be a really crap mother!

I said to Stuart recently, I need to make the most of these days I am at home (not working) with the children and really appreciate them as before long I’ll be back on the hunt for a job and the likelihood will be that I get a full time job. Callum will be in school and Millie in nursery. I wont ever get these days back again. So why the hell am I wasting them? Why am I not grabbing every day and making it a memory?

So I’ve made a plan. I would say a promise but I don’t believe in promises as sometimes promises have to be broken and I don’t like broken promises. So I am going to say I’m really going to try my damned hardest to stick to this.

I am going to spend more time with and enjoying my children.

Should I not have any plans to meet a friend or my family I am going to go out to parks, soft play, walks, the beach, farms etc. These things don’t have to be expensive and are quite often free. Callum loves looking around pet shops or fish shops (the aquarium kind not the fried type). Once a fortnight I will try to either bake or get arty with Callum and/or Millie (admittedly a little more difficult with Millie). I will try to make myself join in games with Callum, especially when Millie is sleeping.

To ensure this happens, I have to limit my computer use so I propose the following:
  • I will not pick up my laptop Monday to Wednesday until the evening/children are in bed unless Callum is happily watching a DVD (which isn’t actually that often).
  • On Thursdays and Fridays, when Callum is at nursery, I will limit my laptop time to when Millie is napping and again once children are in bed.
  • I will allow myself to use my phone during the above times unless I notice this taking over important family time.
I think this is realistic and should be easy to stick to.

I am not perfect and I may slip into bad habits from time to time but hopefully, by writing it down, I am more committed and can remind myself of what I have pledged by reading this back. I want to be a better Mummy and I want to make the most of these days so we can all look back at the memories we’ve made.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

MeMe– Ten Is

MeMe time. I’ve been tagged by Tom at The Diary of a Dad. Thanks Tom! As I like you and your blog and I’m in a ‘merry’ mood I’ll partake.

So, from what I gather this MeMe really is about ‘me, me, me, me, me’. I have to answer the ten Is, as the title suggests. That is I to the power of 10, not ‘ten is’. Easy enough so here I go…

Key: (I’ve made this bit up, my tagees don’t have to do this, you can just answer seriously if you wish)

Black: The I statements to be answered
Purple: The serious(ish) answer
Blue: The silly(ish) answer

I can…. do remarkably well in the cereal box game for someone that has rubbish flexibility…and drink a lot of red wine (the 2 go remarkably well together)

I can’t…. sing….or stand up after drinking too much wine

I want…. *puts on fake smile* world peace…and wine

I would like…. to act…and drink wine with my friends

I don’t want…. anyone to ever touch my bellybutton…or to ever run out of wine

I wish I could…. sing…and own my own vineyard

I hope…. my children grow up to be kind and considerate of others…and to never discover wine

I love…. my family with all my being…and wine

I am…. a healer…and a wino (did you guess?)

(Note: I may have been drinking wine during the writing of this MeMe)

Hmmm, now who shall I tag? How about:

Aimee at Pass the Gin  (because she likes wine…and gin of course)
Sarah at Musings about my adventures through motherhood (because that’s the longest blog name I’ve come across – and because she is a new twitter friend so I’d like to know more about her)
Angeline at Daft Mamma (because I don’t believe she’s as Daft as she proclaims to be!)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

One Week Notice: Change of Blog Address

I’ve been thinking about my blog url. I refer to my blog by its name, My Pregnancy-Mummy Diary. I think if anyone was going to refer to my blog, they would use this title too. So the url, flumpalump.blogspot.com, is a bit confusing. I’ve no idea why I went with that instead of keeping the two the same or similar.

Anyway, I’ve decided to change it. So please take this as your One Week Notice that on Monday, 11 February 2013, the url for this blog will change to mypregnancymummydiary.blogspot.com.

Assuming that no one decides to pinch that url between now and then! Please don’t, cos I may cry Crying face.

I apologise that it is actually only 6 days notice not one full week but its close enough.

If you have bookmarked my blog or link to it in anyway, please can you check after this date that the bookmark is updated to the new address.

I really appreciate you following and reading my blog and I’d hate to lose any of you.

Thank you

Monday, 4 February 2013

I Feel the Need, the Need to Dreamfeed

When Callum was a baby, I had heard of dreamfeeding. It is when, just as you go to bed, you carefully pick up your baby while they are sleeping, feed them, then carefully put them back in their cot – the aim is for them to stay asleep (hence the name) throughout the process but the dreamfeed gives them a little boost in the hope that they sleep through or at least sleep longer.

It had been very successful for many of my parent friends so I was eager to try it.

I’m not sure exactly when we started dreamfeeding Callum but I know by looking back through this blog that we were by the time he was 10 weeks. We then kept it up until just before he was 5 months old. What made us decide to stop was when I looked back at the sleep log I had kept since Callum was born, Callum was naturally doing OK on his own, gradually sleeping longer and longer in between feeds at night. Then from the time we introduced the dreamfeed, he started waking up more frequently – the time he would sleep between feeds was reduced.

The fourth night after we dropped the dreamfeed, Callum slept through the night for the first time from 7pm until 7.10am (after last feed at 6.30pm).

For this reason, I wasn’t in a hurry to try a dreamfeed with Millie unless I really felt she would benefit from it, and it would work!

Up until now, I didn’t feel it would be worth trying. Millie often woke around 10-10.30pm for a feed of her own accord (which is approximately when we would be doing the dreamfeed) and she would then sleep until 3-3.30am and then after 7am.

However, we were invited by our friends for dinner next weekend. My mum had agreed to babysit for both the kids but as my parents had spent a lot of time recently living out of a suitcase for various reasons they preferred that they looked after them at their own house rather than staying at ours. So for us, you would be forgiven in thinking, whoop whoop! A full night of sleep. Can you imagine?

BUT, with Millie still not sleeping through the night and could be up twice in one night, I worried for my Mum. I could tell she wasn’t revelling in the idea either and Mum thought Millie was sleeping through when she agreed.

Operation get Millie sleeping through began!

Millie woke at 10.30pm again one night but then slept through until 7am. I suggested to Stuart we try feeding her at about 10/10.30pm every night now whether she woke or not – so dreamfeeding if she didn’t wake on her own. She may fully well do it on her own every night but her nightfeeds are so changeable that we couldn’t rely on that and with the pressure of the night at my parent’s approaching, I wanted to take action to encourage her to do it again.

The first night Stuart successfully dreamfed her at 10pm. She then slept until 6.15am then happily nattering to herself until 6.45am. Clever girl – that’s what we like. So last night was the second night. We were watching a film which finished at 10.50pm so I fed her then. She stayed asleep throughout but then woke for her next feed at 3.30am. Boo, fail! I’m hoping it was just down to her having a dirty nappy.

I figure its worth continuing to try for this week, until we get this Saturday out the way and then make a decision as to whether we will continue it past then, depending on its success.

Tonight is a bit of a miss though as she has just woken for a feed at 9.30pm and she is a very stubborn young lady – she will only feed if she is hungry and there is no convincing her otherwise! This 9.30pm feed will have to be her last one until she wakes again during the night (if she does). Fingers crossed she’ll sleep until 7.

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A little thought to finish on – despite all this effort to get her to sleep through, after some tragic news on Twitter and in the Blogging World this weekend, part of me welcomes her waking in the night for another cuddle & reassurance. My thoughts are with the family that wont have that opportunity tonight.

The MADs 2013

The MAD Blog Awards are back for 2013 and nominations are open! MAD stands for Mum and Dad (Blog Awards) and is a chance for people to show appreciation to their favourite blogs written by parent bloggers across a number of different categories. More information about the MAD Blog Awards, including the different categories, can be found here.

It was such a surprise and an amazing compliment last year when I received a comment on this blog informing me that me and my little blog had been nominated for the Pregnancy category.

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I never in a million years expected to get nominated so it wasn’t any surprise to not get through to the final stages but to know that someone, even if it was just one person, was reading my blog and enjoying reading it at that, was a lovely buzz.

I’ve made my own nominations and it was a real struggle to choose just one for the categories I submitted. There are so many fantastic blogs written by some very talented bloggers. I hope those I did nominate do well and I wish everyone who does get nominated this year the best of luck.

And if you haven’t already…get nominating Smile- Nominations close at Midnight on 18 February.