- June 22nd, 17:03
There but for the grace of God go I… I never took it for granted but I am very aware that I never had any problems conceiving my two babies; we thought about having children, tried and then I was pregnant. I’ve never had any problems in pregnancy either and apart from a bit of tiredness in the first few weeks with Florence and a small amount of sickness with Jimmy in my first trimester, I had perfectly happy and more importantly, healthy gestations with both. I went into natural labour both times and gave birth at 39 + 4 and 39 + 3; absolutely perfect and I know how lucky I am. I have friends and family, as we all do I’m sure, who haven’t been as lucky as me; people who have struggled with infertility, people who have miscarried, had still births and people who have had their babies born prematurely. Hearing stories like these always makes me thank my lucky stars, hug my own children that little bit tighter and say ‘There but for the grace of God go I’…
Today I want to talk a little about premature births, something that until this week I knew very little about aside from the stories I have heard from friends and acquaintances who have been in the position of birthing early. This week however, I was invited by the charity Best Beginnings to St Thomas’s Hospital in London to learn more about premature birth in the UK and to help them, by writing this article, so raising awareness of their new DVD ‘Small Wonders’ which launched on Tuesday and is an accompaniment to the charities change programme. The film follows 14 families and their experiences in the neonatal care unit with their premature babies. It shows them through some of the toughest times of their lives, the challenges they faced with their new babies and shows how they coped so aiming to help others who may be faced with a similar situation in the future. It is to show couples faced with the same challenges that there are many things they can do for their babies, how they can care for them and how to get the help they will need. It is also a resource for them to learn how to cope with their own feelings. As well as the DVD there is a guide book with spaces provided for participants to write down how they are feeling and note any questions they may have.
Prior to the launch of this DVD, the Picker report 2011 which serveyed over 9000 parents with experience of neonatal care stated that 43% of parents felt they weren’t given enough information about the neonatal unit and 24% felt they couldn’t talk to staff about their worries and concerns. Try to imagine what it must be like to be in the position where your child’s life is in the hands of strangers, you don’t know if they will live or die and you have no idea how you yourself can be a part of their care? It’s unimaginable isn’t it but for many it’s a reality. It must be massively frightening and even though many people know that they will deliver early, I can’t imagine knowing it will happen would make the process any easier? I listened to some of the parents who were filmed for the DVD talk about their experiences and what seemed to resonate was that the support they felt from others in the same situation was equally as important as all the medical information they were receiving from staff. I guess, as with everything in life, talking through your experiences with others in the same boat is therapeutic, gives you strength and can be encouraging, which is why the DVD is going to be such a useful tool.
To not be able to hold your baby, to feed and care for him or her must be one of the worst feelings in the world. As well as being devastating it must be such a frustrating situation to be in; coupled with all the worry it must just simply be the very worst of times. The parents from the DVD were in agreement that after their experiences and knowing all the things they now know, a DVD of this kind would have been an enormously beneficial resource for them and they were all immensely proud to be spearheading the project and leading the way forward for others who will face what they have faced. The DVD shows the parents doing things to assist in the care of their babies, bathing them, holding them, feeding them… to show others what they too can do; they can hold their babies and indeed, kangaroo care/skin to skin, is not only a way of them getting to hold their child but it is also enormously beneficial for the recovery of their baby. Even though a baby may be too fragile and sick to breast feed, he or she can still have his or her mother’s milk and it has been proven to be one of the most beneficial things the parents can do for their babies and their recovery. With advice on how, why and moving forward with this, even caring for their children once they get them home, the DVD is undeniably hugely important.
The charity Best Beginnings, worked with six medical Royal Colleges, UNICEF and more than 15 other organisations to launch the Small Wonders DVD. It has been implemented by over 400 doctor, nurse and midwife ‘Champions’ within neonatal units throughout England and Scotland to support health professionals in their work with families who have a sick or premature baby, in ways that have been proven to improve babies health. 1 in 10 babies in the UK are born prematurely and many of these babies at extremely low gestation, some even as early as 22 weeks. This amounts to 80,000 premature births every year! Quite a sum isn’t it. Alison Baum, Founder and CEO of Best Beginnings made a decision to improve the health of babies across the UK after her own children were born with significant health problems. In this endeavour she has made this film which will do just that. More than 65,000 free copies of the DVD have been sent out to 115 hospitals in the UK; with over 400 neonatal nurses, midwives, doctors and allied healthcare professionals who have become ‘Small Wonders Champions’ (people who have been provided with resources and training to support embedding the DVD in their hospitals and ensuring other hospital staff have familiarised themselves with the DVD before the parents receive it) helping many of these hospitals to begin distributing the DVD this week. The aim is that everyone who will deliver a premature baby will be given a free copy of the DVD.
Best Beginnings is a registered charity. With your help, they can continue their work to give every child in the UK the healthiest start in life. Text BABY41 to 70300 to give £5. www.bestbeginnings.org.uk. Breast milk donation is also a way of giving your support, breast milk is vital in the recovery of sick and premature babies when their own mothers are not always able to provide enough of their own breast milk. For more information see www.nice.org.uk/cg93, www.ukamb.org and www.europeanmilkbanking.com.
What a worthy cause and I hope in my small way by writing this, I may have helped to increase awareness. I look at my children today and know how lucky I am… There but for the grace of God go I.
Donkey: ‘MADE (to be seen) IN CHELSEA’
We decided to take Donkey out to Chelsea this week; of course he fitted in a treat and caught some very admiring glances. The glances were of course coming from people in wheels with price tags in the hundreds of thousands as they sat in traffic watching us glide our wa along the pavements of Chelsea and Westminster looking equally, if not more, glamorous than even them! I’m guessing Le Donk is right up there with the hot wheels desires of the rich and famous then but it was lucky old us this week as yet again with our superstar buggy we got to feel like superstars ourselves taking him for a walk! We even saw one of the ‘stars’ from the television programme ‘Made in Chelsea’ while we were there; if it had been Ollie Locke I’d have asked him to pose with Donkey but it was one of the girls who isn’t even in it anymore and I think Donkey would have been a bit offended if I’d asked him to stand with a C lister, he is after all, A list all the way!
Here we are showing Le Donk ‘Big Ben and the houses of Parliament’!
By a red phone box. ‘What’s that’? Was Florence’s question!
Next Donkey played at being a ‘Sloane Ranger’!
Then we went for a spot of shopping on the Kings Road!
Outside the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the Chelsea Pensioners!
We popped into the National Army Museum!
Donkey by Westminster Abbey just before boarding the tube at Westminster!
So just before we went home I decided to make a couple of little films about how well Donkey copes on the tube. This is us getting to the platform with Le Donk at Westminster tube station:
And now see how easily he goes on the tube from the platform!
This past weekend we were invited back to Go Ape to try out one of their newest courses and this time the fun is in none other than our beautiful Capital City, London! Trent Park near Enfield is newly opened this year and 100% ready for fun! We had an ace time in Thetford but I think Trent Park may have beaten it for us as it’s just so easy to get to from the City! It’s hard to imagine that just a tube ride away from the centre of town is a treetop adventure in the middle of a forest but it’s true and we have to say, well worth the visit! When I say tube ride, I mean tube ride, no other public transport necessary; it’s literally just a short walk from Cockfosters tube station! This was its first plus for me as I’m a non driver and it’s always great to know you can get somewhere without the need for a car! Last time we went my little sister Phoebe was poorly and didn’t make it but she was fighting fit this past weekend and had an absolute ball in her treetop adventure! I was scheduled to make the journey round the tops of the trees with her, swinging on zip wires and climbing through tunnels but at the last minute decided it was possibly not the thing for me to be doing with my recent post birth injuries… So, Jonny stepped up to the mark and completed the course with Phoebe – he wasn’t complaining as he absolutely loved it the last time! (I was pregnant then and didn’t get to go that time either, will I ever be in the right condition to do Go Ape? I certainly hope so, it looks awesome!)
Florence, Jimmy, my Dad and I walked the course with them and took photos from the ground up as we watched in awe at them having a brilliant time! Of course when they arrived they were safety briefed and it was explained to them how to use the harnesses etc. No stones were left unturned to make sure they knew exactly what they were doing and then they were off! It was lovely to see the instructors following and being on hand when needed but not infringing upon their time and they both totally felt as if they were doing something on their own, which is how they had wanted it! From their group Phoebe and Jonny went first and they nipped round super quickly! They chose all the harder options when it came to decisions and I was incredibly proud, if a bit jealous, of both of them! This is an adrenalin fuelled, skilful work out with fun at the very top of its priorities and Phoebe and Jonny had a blast! To be honest, so did we on the ground! The forest is beautiful and despite the rain and mud (Florence naturally fell in a puddle in the first five minutes) we still had a gorgeous and enjoyable walk while we watched all the fun over head! I was especially jealous as they soared along the MASSIVE zip wire, the longest of all wires at any GO Ape at 120m and we all came away smiling from ear to ear, if a little exhausted! Florence ran through the trees while she splashed in muddy puddles, Jonny and Phoebe had an exhilarating time up above and my Dad, Jimmy and I walked through the forest taking in the beautiful scenery. Is there a better way to spend a Saturday morning? It takes some beating I have to say!
What else can you do at Go Ape? Well, some parks offer other activities like biking and Segway experiences and there is now the possibility, depending on which park you choose, for even younger ones to join in the fun with a junior treetop adventure! We also enjoyed the play park at Trent Park where Florence could make her own mini treetop adventure climbing on the wooden playing equipment and I quietly sat with a snack and a hot drink in the café which is currently being refurbished as I fed Jimmy! Did we like Go Ape at Trent Park? NO! We LOVED Go Ape at Trent Park!
‘Go Ape’ is based at different sites all over the UK. The Treetop Forest Adventure is priced at £30 for ‘Gorillas’ (18+) and £20 for ‘Baboons’ (10 – 17) For more information on this, the Segway Experience, Biking, Treetop Junior and all things ‘Go Ape’ please see their website www.goape.co.uk. They also offer corporate events and stag and hen parties. Call 0845 643 9314 to book.
Our day in the forest and the brilliant two who did the course! They look knackered but thrilled at the end!
I will get to do something exciting like Go Ape very soon I hope as I am almost healed but for the mean time I’m going to have to plan more sedate activities for myself! It’s my birthday in a couple of weeks and I’m going to organise a picnic or 3 as I love doing that and always on my birthday I give Florence a present too so this year I’ll need to get them both something! I guess because of having Jimmy my mind’s just not been totally on it and I’ve not really thought about it properly so I’m going to have to get my thinking cap on smartish as to what gifts to get them! I’ve been testing out this brilliant toy by Vivid Imaginations with little Charley Bear at the helm of an aeroplane which Florence will love so perhaps that’ll have to be her gift for my birthday! Little Charley Bear, Up, Up and Away Little Charley Bear is a fantastic little toy with an RRP of £24.99 (money well spent I’d say and very good value). Little Charley Bear wears pilots goggles and hat and is made of soft plush material while he sits in his hard plastic aeroplane which can be rolled along the floor on its wheels! When you move Little Charley Bear the aeroplane makes realistic aeroplane sounds and James Cordon’s voice (just as with the TV programme) encourages Little Charley Bear to ‘Go’! I think that most little’ns will get a kick out of this as most of them seem to love Charley! We went to see him in a little show in Westfield Stratford City a while back and the ages of the children there ranged from around 6 months to 7 years so I’d say the toys appeal certainly has longevity; it’s definitely built to last and my favourite feature is the spinning propeller! I know lots of little boys who would just love to spend hours upon hours spinning that round alone! A total winner I’d say and despite me trying to keep him hidden for my birthday, Florence has seen him and had her eye on him for some time! There’s no better judge than the toddler behind the toy I’d say and she’s given him her little thumbs up so that’s good enough for me!
Requires 3 x AAA batteries (included) and recommended for children aged 2 years and up. For more information on Little Charley Bear, Up, Up and Away Little Charley Bear please see the toy makers website www.vividimaginations.co.uk.
Jimmy’s been playing with his Mamas and Papas giraffe soft rattle toy (£6.50) from their ‘Made With Love’ range this week. Or rather we’ve been playing with it and watching it make him smile! I love this little giraffe which is the gift Florence gave to Jimmy when we welcomed him into the world and it seems he does too! Giraffe is brightly coloured with a gentle sounding rattle and has different fabrics with different textures all over him; from corduroy eyes to felt ears with crackle sounds inside and a ribbon tail, he is the perfect first toy for a new baby discovering his senses! We like the giraffe so much we’re going to go back to Mamas and Papas and get him one of their gorgeous curly whirly toys to put on the handles of car seats and prams, I think he’ll love that too! For more information on the Giraffe soft rattle toy and all of the Mamas and Papas range please see www.mamasandpapas.com.
Jimmy and his giraffe!
Countdown to Lollibob!
8 weeks to go!
Just 8 weeks to go and the excitement is building! Check out the latest…
Find out about the brilliant sounding ‘Tween Town’ for the slightly older ones; workshops, entertainment and lasers! http://www.lollibopfestival.co.uk/index2.php/2012/06/20/tween-town/
What does the lead singer from the Zingzillas have to say about Lollibop? http://www.lollibopfestival.co.uk/index2.php/2012/06/13/the-zingzillas-prepare-for-lollibop/
Hands up who loves Moshi Monsters? And double hands up who loves a competition?! Are your hands up? Well get em down and click on this link then! http://www.lollibopfestival.co.uk/index2.php/2012/05/25/moshi-monsters-confirmed-for-lollibop-2012/
Want to be first in the know about the latest acts to be announced? http://www.lollibopfestival.co.uk/index2.php/2012/05/04/more-acts-revealed-for-lollibop-2012/
More Lollibop news next week when we’ll be just 7 weeks away from the big event! Whoop, whoop!
For more information and how to book tickets please see www.lollibopfestival.co.uk.
Lat year when we were at Lollibop Florence was introduced to Ben and Holly from Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom for the first time ever and she’s not looked back since! Just as with Peppa Pig (they’re created by the same team), Florence and all her friends absolutely love the woodland elf Ben, his fairy princess friend Holly and most of all, for Florence anyway, their barking ladybird friend Gaston! It is with GREAT excitement from us then that a tour for 2012/2013 has just been announced and Ben and Holly will be live on stage for the very first time! The 2012 tour dates have been announced and it all kicks off with the opening on 26th OCTOBER at THE ORCHARD THEATRE, DARTFORD! We are dancing madly at the thought of seeing the show and if you are too then take a look at this:
From the makers of Peppa Pig and the producers of the two hugely successful Peppa Pig theatre tours comes the first ever stage version of the BAFTA award-winning TV animation, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom. This brand new UK tour opens at The Orchard Theatre, Dartford on 26 October at the start of an extensive UK tour, booking through till summer 2013.
Currently a top favourite show for pre-schoolers, this charmingly magical animation airs on Nick Jr (since April 2009) and on 5’s Milkshake (since April 2010). Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom is co-owned by animation studio Astley Baker Davies and has been a hit with audiences and critics alike. The series won a BAFTA award for Best Pre-School Animation in 2009 and a British Animation Award for Best Pre-School Series in 2012.
The Little Kingdom – where everyone is very, very small – is home to Princess Holly and her best friend Ben Elf. Holly is a young fairy princess who is still learning how to do magic properly and sometimes her spells don’t work out quite right. Ben is an Elf. Elves don’t do magic but they are very good at making things. Ben doesn’t have wings like Holly but he flies on the back of Gaston the Ladybird.
In this exciting new musical adventure, Ben and Holly have fun and games helping Gaston clean up his messy cave; they go on a trip to The Big World with tooth-fairy Nanny Plum; and still have time toplan a surprise for King Elf’s birthday party, complete with an unplanned jelly flood.
Packed full of games, songs and laughter, this is an enchanting and magical visit to the Little Kingdom, live on stage for the very first time. This beautiful story of elves, princesses and childhood innocence will delight all the family.
For more information on the show, tour dates and ticketing please see www.benandhollylive.com.
MY LIFE WITH 2! WEEK 7!
Sun, rain, sun, rain; this British weather ought to make its mind up I think! I’m sick of taking out clothes for all weathers and it was summer solstice this week too! Surely I shouldn’t be carrying the snow suit with me just in case? I’m kind of glad I got to use it in one sense as it was one of my favourite items that Florence had and I thought Jimmy wouldn’t get a chance to go in it but I really, really would like the sun to come out and stay now please! Despite the changing weather we’ve had a fabby week and Jonny enjoyed his Father’s Day very much! He loved his gifts and we had a great lunch with friends although we had a quick venue change at the last minute as the Red Lion pub in Leytonstone stopped serving food at 1pm because they were too busy… There were still lots of tables available so goodness knows how they’d cope when they were full? They were very stressed out about it all too which I guess is why they were quite rude about relaying the information but there we are… It was a real shame though as they opened the garden the day before and put on a darling little party for all the children of the Stone which we thought was ace and wish they did this every month, the children had a ball, I’ve never seen so many tiny tots in the pub, brilliant!
This week I’ve also been signed off from the midwife care which is good as well as sad as I love my midwives and could quite happily see them for a chat every week forever just because they’re lovely people! I’ll see them again soon though as am going to a group they hold for other women wanting to have home births so that I can answer questions and things – just up my street! Even though the infection has gone I’m not quite healed yet and it’s going to take some time before I can see the specialists as they need the wound to completely heal first, perhaps it’ll even take as long as six months but I know I’m in the best possible hands as just like my midwife team my Doctors are great too! However long it takes I’m just happy to be off antibiotics!
Father’s Day and matching outfits for the boys!
And before they got dressed some ‘Superhero’ presents for our ‘Super Daddy’!
Baby Jimmy, snow suited up in June!
My cousin (Florence and Jimmy’s lovely Aunty Helen) visited us this week and took these great pictures. It’s the first time we’ve managed to capture Jimmy’s wonderful smile, we’re usually not quick enough!
Well now, has anyone heard of a Puj Tub? It’s a soft, folding, baby bath tub which fits in the sink and gives you a cradle for your newborn to be bathed in. I had planned on it being my ‘Newborn Must Have of the Week’ because I thought it looked aces but actually, I’m not going to be able to say ‘must have’ because in practice, it’s just not that great! It’s good and nice to have but when it retails for around the £30 mark I think it’s just not really a ‘must have’ item if I’m honest! The reason I thought it looked brilliant was because it means, in theory, that you don’t have to put so much pressure on your back leaning over the bath while you cradle a baby who can’t yet sit up. It fits in most sinks (although not one of ours – our bathroom sink is fairly small) and when not in use it folds flat. I thought it’d be a great product to take on holiday and remembering how hard it was bathing a 6 month old Florence while we holidayed I probably will take it with me but aside from that, I haven’t really found it terribly useful; I’ve used it but more because it’s there rather than I can’t do without it. You can’t get a lot of water in it which is good for a tiny, tiny baby and when it’s working it does mean the level of support you need to give isn’t tremendous so you can easily bathe baby with one hand and support the baby with the other. However, with ours and I’m not sure if it might just be a fault with our one, Jimmy can give it the merest of kicks and the magnets holding it together come apart meaning it unfolds and you have to always make sure you’re totally supporting him just in case this happens. It’s a shame as in theory it could be brilliant, I’m just not so sure. He does like being in it however and it’s less daunting than putting your tiny baby in a bigger baby bath. I hear it’s extremely popular in the US so perhaps I’m in the minority in not being totally convinced about the need for this product. I like it, I just don’t love it but do take a look on line and see what you think? I do like the fact it’s non slip, made from a material which is BPA and PVC free, it folds flat and it can be hung on the wall and the baby does look super cute in it too! I was sent this product to review with no return address so I’ve no idea where it came from unfortunately and I couldn’t find a UK website for them but it does seem to be sold at well known retailers on the internet.
Baby Jimmy enjoys being given a bath (by me and Florence) in his Puj Tub in my Mum’s bathroom sink!
Well, we’ll be off now but we’ll be back next week, fingers crossed for the sun everyone!
In the meantime follow me on Twitter @rocknrollerbaby
But I was faced with such side effects described at https://valtrexlab.com as: I started losing hair, just awful, and vitamins together with Accutane did not help at all (it ended after taking Accutane, 2 months after course).
(All opinions and words, apart from those in green, are my own. I have not been paid for this article although I did receive some products to keep after I had reviewed them.)